THE UK new car market recorded its fifth consecutive month of growth in December, with an 18.3 per cent increase to reach 128,462 new registrations, according to the latest figures from the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT).
This second half year performance was not enough, however, to offset the declines recorded during the first half of 2022.
Pandemic-related global parts shortages saw overall registrations for the year fall 2 per cent to 1.61 million, about 700,000 below pre-Covid-19 levels.
December saw battery electric vehicles (BEVs) claim their largest ever monthly market share, of 32.9 per cent, while for 2022 as a whole they made up 16.6 per cent of registrations, surpassing diesel for the first time to become the second most popular powertrain after petrol.
Plug-in hybrids (PHEVs) saw their annual share decline to 6.3 per cent, meaning that combined, all plug-in vehicles accounted for 22.9 per cent of new registrations in 2022 – a record high, although a smaller increase in overall market share than recorded in previous years.
Hybrid electric vehicles (HEVs) also enjoyed growth, rising to an 11.6 per cent market share for the year. As a result, average new car CO2 fell 6.9 per cent to 111.4g/km, the lowest in history.
SMMT chief executive Mike Hawes said: “The automotive market remains adrift of its pre-pandemic performance but could well buck wider economic trends by delivering significant growth in 2023.
“To secure that growth – which is increasingly zero emission growth – government must help all drivers go electric and compel others to invest more rapidly in nationwide charging infrastructure.
“Manufacturers’ innovation and commitment have helped EVs become the second most popular car type.
“However, for a nation aiming for electric mobility leadership, that must be matched with policies and investment that remove consumer uncertainty over switching, not least over where drivers can charge their vehicles.”