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UK new car sales grows in May despite drop in private consumer purchases – SMMT

UK new car sales grows in May despite drop in private consumer purchases – SMMT

(Reuters) -New car registrations in Britain rose in May helped by higher fleet vehicle demand, industry data showed on Wednesday, countering a drop in private consumer purchases despite manufacturers’ discount offerings amid a cost-of-living crisis.

The Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) said new car registrations were up 1.7% from a year ago, with 147,678 units reaching the road. This was the best May market performance since 2021, but remained around 20% below 2019 levels.

Fleets and businesses continued to fuel market growth, narrowly overriding a fall in private retail uptake, the industry body said.

Registrations of battery electric vehicles (BEV) claimed a 17.6% market share, up from 16.9% a year earlier, but fell short of the required 22% as set out by the government in the zero-emission vehicle mandate.

“With a choice of more than 100 EV models now available, and a raft of compelling offers, manufacturers are dedicated to driving change, but meeting targets will require more support,” SMMT said.

The industry body has been calling for incentives such as temporarily halving value added tax on BEVs to encourage more buyers at a time when investment in the sector has been growing.

“Currently, electric vehicles don’t appear to make sense for consumers, unless they can charge their cars at home overnight. As a result, there does need to be a push on creating more publicly available charging stations,” Jamie Hamilton, automotive partner and head of electric vehicles at Deloitte, said.

(Reporting by Echha Jain and Saikeerthi in Bengaluru; Editing by Vijay Kishore and Sonia Cheema)


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