New car registions showed strong growth in November – albeit compared to a difficult month last year – as supply from several manufacturers improved.
According to data published by the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) this morning, overall new car registrations were up by more than 23% in November compared to the same month last year. This was largely thanks to a massive improvement in fleet registrations, which were up by 45% compared to a terrible month last November.
Private new car sales were up by a more modest 3%, although this was just as significant as it represented growth against what was a strong month for consumer sales last November. It follows a similarly solid month in October and bodes well for continued improvements into 2023.
Assuming new car production levels continue to improve, we can expect to see waiting times coming down across the industry, which will have welcome knock-on benefits for new car pricing as supply improves and then for used car pricing as well. This could take several months to really be noticeable, however, so don’t expect immediate results.
EV sales are doing just fine, thanks for asking
There was a lot of noise in the media last month about electric car sales stalling, which was a lot of nonsense but very convenient for the car industry, which is endlessly lobbying more more government funding. This month’s numbers showed that the move to EVs is continuing and that last month’s lack of growth was really just a blip.
One in five new cars registered in November was an electric vehicle, which was the strongest result this year and one of the strongest on record. it also suggests broad growth across multiple car manufacturers, rather than relying on Tesla.
Tesla, which is the largest seller of electric cars and which doesn’t operate like any other car company, has an outsized impact on overall EV sales numbers as it can swing from selling thousands of cars one month to almost none the next month. This heavily skews maket data, especially when looking at month-by-month sales results.
The most noticeable aspect of the November EV sales data was that Tesla’s growth (it doubled it sales from last November) accounted for less than half of the total growth in EV registrations, showing that other car manufacturers are seeing significant new sales from their latest electric models.
There are still headwinds to broader EV adoption, however. Mostly, this revolves around cost – an electric car is still considerably more expensive than an equivalent petrol model. Charging infrastructure remains an issue, particularly in the uneven rollout of chaarging points across the country.
Good month, bad month
While it was a good month overall for new car registrations, the majority of that growth came from a few key sources – namely the Volkswagen Group (VW, Audi, Skoda), Ford, Nissan and Tesla. These brands accounted for about 23,000 units of the 27,000 total number of increased sales for November.
Volkswagen topped the sales charts overall – helped by having three of the ten best-selling models in November – ahead of Ford, Audi, BMW and Nissan.
Across the board, there were more losers than winners, using our traditional metric of looking at which brands achieved registrations that were significantly better or worse than the overall new car market.
It was smiles for Audi, Cupra, Dacia, DS Automobiles, Ford, Genesis, Honda, Lexus, Mazda, Nissan, Polestar, Skoda, Suzuki, Tesla and Volkswagen, who all outperformed the overall market by at least 10%.
Meanwhile, life wasn’t so cheery for Abarth, Alfa Romeo, Alpine, Bentley, BMW, Citroën, Fiat, Hyundai, Jaguar, Jeep, Maserati, Mercedes-Benz, Mini, Peugeot, Porsche, Renault, SEAT, Smart, SsangYong, Subaru, Vauxhall and Volvo, who all underperformed against the overall market by at least 10%.
Qashqai closes in on sales crown
It’s been a stunning second half of the year for the pride of Sunderland, the Nissan Qashqai. With only one month to go – and barring any more seismic shocks to the marketplace – it looks certain to finish the year as the best-selling new car of 2022.
We’re still checking the records, but if this comes to pass it will be the first time in a very long time that Britain’s best-selling new car is actually one that’s built in Britain.
The Tesla Model Y had another strong month to take second place ahead of the (also British-built) Mini hatch. Five of the ten best sellers were small hatchbacks, reinforcing the year’s new car sales theme of ‘smaller, greener, cheaper’. We’ll have our usual analysis of the top ten in coming days.