UK new car sales jump 18% YoY in March; best ever month for EVs

April 5 (Reuters) – New car registrations in the UK rose for the eighth consecutive month in March, recording an 18.2% growth from a year earlier, and also marked the best month ever for battery electric car sales, according to industry data released on Wednesday.

The Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) said new car registrations jumped to 287,825 units as supply chain challenges continued to ease, making the first quarter of 2023 the strongest three-month period since 2019.

Battery electric vehicle (BEV) sales reached a record monthly high of 46,626, representing 18.6% year-on-year growth, while petrol-powered vehicles remained the most popular fuel type, comprising 56.3% of new units in March.

“The best month ever for zero emission vehicles is reflective of increased consumer choice and improved availability but if EV market ambitions – and regulation – are to be met, infrastructure investment must catch up,” SMMT CEO Mike Hawes said in a statement.

The industry body said increased investment in public charging infrastructure is key for the success of the Zero Emission Vehicle Mandate, which is due to be enforced in less than nine months.

John Wilmot, CEO of car leasing comparison website LeaseLoco, said in a note that it would be foolhardy to declare the car industry is out of the woods just yet, as current reported numbers were still well below pre-Covid levels.

Reporting by Sinchita Mitra and Aby Jose Koilparambil in Bengaluru; Editing by Shweta Agarwal and Sonia Cheema