UK new car registrations grew by 26.2% in February according to the latest figures from the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT).
While February is typically low volume ahead of the March number plate change, this year it marked the seventh month of consecutive growth as easing supply chain shortages steered the market closer to pre-pandemic levels – it was down just 6.5% on the same month in 2020.
The month saw almost universal growth across the market, with deliveries to private buyers up 5.8% and those to large fleets up 46.2%. Business registrations, which account for a fraction of the market, increased by 0.7%, equivalent to just nine units.
There was also growth in all but two segments, with only registrations of executive and luxury saloon cars falling, by 15.4% and 6.3% respectively. Minis (up 66.1%), multipurpose vehicles (41.9%) and superminis (37.7%) posted the largest percentage uplifts, with superminis remaining the most popular, accounting for a third (33.1%) of all deliveries.
Hybrid electric vehicles (HEVs) recorded the most significant growth of all fuel types, up 40.0%, followed by petrol, up 35.8% with a 56.9% market share, while diesel registrations fell by 7.0%.
Zero emission capable vehicles continued their upward trend last month, with plug-in hybrids (PHEVs) rising 1.0% and battery electric vehicles (BEVs) posting another strong month, up 18.2% to account for one in six new UK car registrations.
Combined, plug-ins accounted for almost a quarter (22.8%) of all deliveries in the month, with further growth anticipated.
Mike Hawes, SMMT Chief Executive, said: “After seven months of growth, it is no surprise that the UK automotive sector is facing the future with growing confidence. It is vital, however, that government takes every opportunity to back the market, which plays a significant role in Britain’s economy and net zero ambition. As we move into ‘new plate month’ in March, with more of the latest high-tech cars available, the upcoming Budget must deliver measures that drive this transition, increasing affordability and ease of charging for all.”