Car market buoyed by boost in private sales and EVs in half-year results

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New car sales grew by 26% in June with private sales rising by 15% and fleets further cementing positive results this year with a rise of 38%.

The analysis by The Car Expert comes after the latest data from the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) was released today, revealing the half-year new car sales results.

The eleventh consecutive month of growth for the new car market saw a large rise in sales of electric vehicles, climbing 39% in June compared to the same month last year. The rise goes some way to quelling the scepticism about the popularity of EVs.

Despite consistent growth in the last 11 months and a year-to-date rise of 18%, the new car market remains significantly below levels seen before the Covid-19 pandemic when in 2019 nearly 2.74 million vehicles were sold.

While there is good news for EVs, petrol cars and plug-in hybrids, diesel vehicle sales have fallen off a cliff and are now at a historical low of less than 4% of the market.

The British motor industry has fared relatively well so far this year, with three British built cars – the Nissan Qashqai, Nissan Juke and the Mini hatch – firmly in the list of the top-10 sellers in 2023.

Stuart Masson, Editorial Director at The Car Expert, said: “It is of course positive to see nearly a year of consecutive months of growth, but until the last few months this was very much driven by fleet sales. We might be seeing private sales starting to creep upwards more consistently after rising by 15% in June.

“Sales are way below levels seen in 2019 and the years preceding that, we certainly won’t see anything like what we saw in 2016 when sales topped 3 million units, but what we really want is steady, sustainable growth. The drastic oversupply of vehicles we’ve seen previously is probably a thing of the past.

“It is encouraging to see that EV sales are on the rise again after a flat few months, but looking ahead and with 2030 approaching fast, the sector will need to see continued increases over the rest of this year. With a rise of nearly 40% in June and a raft of new models being introduced later this year, the signs are better for electric vehicles after receiving a bashing from some industry commentators and EV sceptics.”

Car brands that have fared the best this year include MG, Nissan, Porsche and Volkswagen, while new players including Polestar, Cupra and Genesis have seen very healthy growth figures. Mercedes-Benz, on the other hand, has seen a decline in sales of nearly 7% while Fiat is down by almost 18%.

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