UK car market down 27% in November - Just Auto
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UK car market down 27% in November

04 Dec 2020

The UK's new car market was down a hefty 27.4% in the month of November as coronavirus-induced population restrictions hit the retail sector hard, according to data released by the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT).

UK car market down 27% in November

The UK’s new car market was down a hefty 27.4% in the month of November (at 113,781 units) as coronavirus-induced population restrictions hit the retail sector hard, according to data released by the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT).

November’s big market contraction is no surprise given the imposition of a second lockdown in England that shuttered dealers during the month (it has now lifted). The overall market decline was however, softened by ‘click and collect’ capabilities.

The November decline was less severe than that seen during the first lockdown – when registrations fell by a record 97.3% in April alone – largely because this time around, retailers and manufacturers were able to be better prepared to fulfil orders via delivery or click and collect. Despite these innovations, private demand still fell by 32.2% while registrations by large fleets saw a decline of 22.1%.

However, there was some positive news in rising electric car sales in November. Battery electric vehicles (BEVs) accounted for 9.1% of the UK’s new car market last month (versus 3% in November of last year) and are rapidly catching the shrinking pure diesel share (14% in November). Adding plug-in hybrids (6.8% share) to the BEV share, leaves all electrified vehicles at 15.9% share of the UK’s new car market in November, exceeding the share of pure diesels at 14%.

UK new car sales by brand - November 2020

Nov 20shareNov 19share%chYTD 20shareYTD 19share%ch
Abarth1090.11550.1-29.6821870.1532830.15-33.38
Alfa Romeo1470.131960.13-2518220.1232110.15-43.26
Alpine90.01130.01-30.77980.011620.01-39.51
Audi85197.4993926-9.31004076.71302236.02-22.9
Bentley690.06740.05-6.7611930.0814090.07-15.33
BMW97338.55116427.43-16.41051717.021556367.2-32.43
Citroen19051.6728741.84-33.72263421.76479052.22-45.01
Dacia8690.7619631.25-55.73185551.24285941.32-35.11
DS1730.155120.33-66.2121360.1436230.17-41.04
Fiat9900.8716051.02-38.32183511.22280571.3-34.59
Ford105699.291623810.37-34.911412989.4322110710.23-36.1
Honda13411.1827121.73-50.55259061.73411171.9-36.99
Hyundai22431.9752763.37-57.49441412.95794833.68-44.46
Jaguar19641.7324341.55-19.31221271.48342141.58-35.33
Jeep2990.265310.34-43.6941050.2758200.27-29.47
Kia37033.2559983.83-38.26669484.47923434.27-27.5
Land Rover43623.8357653.68-24.34539573.6722303.34-25.3
Lexus6810.610440.67-34.77129780.87149680.69-13.3
Maserati440.04490.03-10.25260.048810.04-40.3
Mazda11230.9925051.6-55.17214671.43378211.75-43.24
Mercedes-Benz78226.87103976.64-24.771034036.91622007.5-36.25
MG8660.7611860.76-26.98169941.13113730.5349.42
MINI39723.4946512.97-14.6420082.8587612.72-28.51
Mitsubishi5560.4911090.71-49.8685450.57154060.71-44.53
Nissan55984.9258393.73-4.13648084.33870634.03-25.56
Peugeot46144.0655043.51-16.17518003.46751323.47-31.05
Porsche22161.9518991.2116.69121040.81135170.63-10.45
Renault27222.3935032.24-22.3409412.73544312.52-24.78
SEAT27012.3754663.49-50.59412432.75651053.01-36.65
Skoda43913.8656513.61-22.3538123.59692543.2-22.3
smart990.09410.03141.4612880.0939840.18-67.67
Ssangyong480.041200.08-6014230.0918580.09-23.41
Subaru520.051570.1-66.888230.0522890.11-64.05
Suzuki8040.7113480.86-40.36185591.24322981.49-42.54
Toyota50714.4662443.99-18.79860825.741004664.65-14.32
Vauxhall78326.88103826.63-24.56881615.881536187.1-42.61
Volkswagen100968.87153119.78-34.061327038.861860848.61-28.69
Volvo40183.5341982.68-4.29418672.79522672.42-19.9
Other British1390.122320.15-40.0917540.1228340.13-38.11
Other Imports11080.9724051.54-53.93196861.31117620.5467.37
Total113781100156621100-27.3514983821002162143100-30.71

Source:SMMT

In the first 11 months of the year, new car sales in the UK tallied 1,498,382 units, some 30.7% down on the same period of 2019. Analytical firm GlobalData’s estimate for 2020 puts the UK’s overall light vehicle market at a little over 1.8 million units, around a third down on 2019’s level, illustrating the scale of the hit the market has taken due to the COVID-19 crisis and its economic fallout.

Mike Hawes, SMMT Chief Executive, said: “Compared with the spring lockdown, manufacturers, dealers and consumers were all better prepared to adjust to constrained trading conditions. But with GBP1.3 billion worth of new car revenue lost in November alone, the importance of showroom trading to the UK economy is evident and we must ensure they remain open in any future Covid restrictions. More positively, with a vaccine now approved, the business and consumer confidence on which this sector depends can only improve, giving the industry more optimism for the turn of the year.”