Private new car sales showed a welcome improvement in June compared to the same month last year, according to registration figures published this morning, with electric car sales looking particularly good.
The overall market was up by 26% on the same month last year, according to data published today by the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT). As has been the case all year, this was led by fleet registrations (up by 38%) relative to private registrations (up 15%).
There’s a big caveat to the headline figures, though. Although the SMMT touts the results as an eleventth consecutive month of growth, it’s really more of a rebound. This year’s growth of 26% mostly recovered from last year’s losses of 24%, meaning that June 2023 was still behind June 2021’s numbers. It’s also 21% behind 2019’s numbers (the last year before Covid), which was worse than 2018. Which was worse than 2017, which was worse than 2016…
What we are seeing quite consistently this year is that new car sales seem to be returning to the level they probably would have been if it wasn’t for Covid. There has been a steady decline in new car registrations since 2015, and the chart below shows that June 2023’s results have more or less returned to that trend line. Most months this year have shown the same thing.
We’ll have a detailed half-year analysis of the new car market in the next day or so.
A boost for private new car sales
After falling consumer new car sales over the last few months, June provided a welcome boost to reverse that trend. It also means that sales year-to-date have pushed back ahead of last year’s numbers for the first half of the year. Hopefully, this will continue for the second half of the year, assuming interest ates stop climing and inflation starts to subside.
For fleets, the Covid rebound has continued, with a 38% growth year-on-year bringing numbers back up to 2021 levels. This will almost certainly continue over the rest of 2023, although probably less dramatically than seen over the first half of the year.
|Buyer||June 2023||June 2022||% change||Market share 2023||Market share 2022|
Year to date
|Buyer||YTD 2023||YTD 2022||% change||Market share 2023||Market share 2022|
EV sales on the up with another good month
After a flat four months to start the year, electric car registrations have shown much better results in May and June. This is the sort of performance we need to see every month as the UK edges ever-closer to the 2030 deadline for the end of new petrol and diesel car sales.
Even more significantly, the growth has come from a large number of car manufacturers, rather than just Tesla. EV registrations were up 39% in June, yet Tesla’s growth was ‘only’ 34%, meaning that other car brands collectively contributed more to this growth. This is a particularly good sign for the EV marketplace.
It will be crucial for these results to continue through the second half of the year, since the government is planning to introduce mandates on car companies to sell a minimum number of electric cars – if they don’t sell enough EVs, they will be limited in how many petrol or diesel cars they can sell.
Plug-in hybrids also had another month of improvement, up more than 65% on the same month last year. Diesel’s mareket share continues to fall, and this month we almost saw plug-in hybrids almost overtake diesel sales. It’s almost certain to happen in the next few months.
New car registrations by fuel type – June
|Fuel||June 2023||June 2022||% change||Market share 2023||Market share 2022|
*includes mild hybrids
New car registrations by fuel type – Year to date
|Fuel||YTD 2023||YTD 2022||% change||Market share 2023||Market share 2022|
*includes mild hybrids
Good month, bad month
Although a 26% overall market growth sounds great, the spoils are never shared equally among all car brands. Some of them had a great month while others underachieved quite spectacularly.
June 2023 was a good month for Audi, Cupra, Ford, Genesis, Honda, Lexus, Mazda, MG, Nissan, Polestar, Porsche, Renault, Skoda, SsangYong, Subaru and Volvo. All of these brands outperformed the overall market by at least 10% (so achieved year-on-year growth of at least 36%).
Meanwhile, things weren’t so rosy for Abarth, Alfa Romeo, Alpine, Bentley, Citroën, Dacia, DS Automobiles, Fiat, Hyundai, Jeep, Kia, Land Rover, Maserati, Mini, Peugeot, SEAT, Smart, Toyota and Vauxhall. All of these brands underachieved against the overall market by at least 10% – and some by a lot more than that…
Volkswagen returned to the top of the brand charts, just ahead of Ford. Last month’s leader Audi fell back to third place, ahead of BMW and Vauxhall.
Tesla Model Y on top in June
The Tesla Model Y is no stranger to the top of the UK sales charts, and made its second appearance at #1 in 2023 this month (it was also top in April). What you may find more surprising is that the Tesla Model Y is actually the world’s best-selling car in 2023 to date.
The Ford Puma dropped to second place, ahead of the Vauxhall Corsa. That means that the Puma has increased its lead over the Corsa in year-to-date sales, but it’s still close with half the year still to go.
Three UK-built cars occupied the middle ground of the top ten, with the Nissan Juke just edging its bigger sibling, the Nissan Qashqai, for fifth place. The Qashqai, in turn, just pipped the Mini hatch for sixth.
For the third month in a row, there was no Ford Fiesta in the top ten. With production of Ford’s famous little hatch ending this week, we’re unlikely to see it appear again. It’s currently clinging on to ninth place in year-to-date sales, but is likely to fall out imminently as supplies finally run out and the Fiesta disappears from the new car market forever.
We’ll have our full analysis of the top ten in the next day or so as usual.
|1||Tesla Model Y||5,539|