SMMT publishes annual new vehicle registration data

The latest figures from the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders showed that during 2020 the registration of battery electric vehicles soared as the UK new car market fell by -29.4%.

The annual SMMT figures published on 6 January painted a gloomy picture for new vehicle registrations, hit hard by the impact of the Covid pandemic and subsequent recession. New car registrations dropped to 1,631,064 units, and the year saw -31.1% fewer vehicles joining large company car fleets.   

New light commercial vehicle (LCV) registrations also took a big hit, down by a fifth (-20.0%) and 73,121 fewer LCVs were registered compared to the previous year. 

Petrol and mild hybrid (MHEV) petrol cars was down by a third (-32.9%), representing 62.7% of registrations, while diesel and MHEV diesels, were down -47.6%, representing a fifth (19.8%) of the market.  

In contrast, the picture was much brighter for battery electric vehicles and plug-in hybrid electric cars, which together accounted for more than one in 10 registrations, up from around one in 30 in 2019. Demand for battery electric vehicles (BEVs) grew by 185.9% to 108,205 units, while registrations of plug-in hybrids (PHEVs) rose 91.2% to 66,877. 

BVRLA Chief Executive Gerry Keaney responded to the SMMT figures, stating: 

“...With so much uncertainty surrounding the impact of EU Exit, Coronavirus and the economic downturn, the Government must do everything it can to support the vehicle buyers that underpin the UK’s new car market. With the next Budget just weeks away, the Chancellor must continue to ring-fence the long-term grants and tax incentives that make electric vehicles affordable...”