Currently reading: Registrations grow 15% as SMMT calls for VAT fairness
Total of 58,994 new cars were sold in the UK in February, with battery-electric vehicles taking a 17.1% market share

New-car registrations in the UK rose by 15% year on year in February, with the industry showing signs of recovery following a positive start to 2022.

The latest figures from the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) show that 58,994 cars were sold last month – significantly more than in the previous year, which was severely impacted by pandemic-related measures.

However, the SMMT said the positive performance for the month is still down 25.9% compared with pre-pandemic levels, due to impacts of the global shortage of semiconductors. In February 2020, 79,594 cars were sold.

Most of the growth came from private buyers, who accounted for a 30% rise year on year. Meanwhile, large fleet registrations grew a slow 2%, which the SMMT has attributed to “a supply-constrained market”. 

Growth also continued for battery-electric vehicles (BEVs), which took a 17.% market share to 10,417 for the month. 

Plug-in hybrid (PHEV) models took a 7.9% share, with a total of 4677 units, while 6883 regular hybrid vehicles were sold. Overall, electrified models accounted for a third of all new cars. 

Despite the growth, the SMMT noted February is usually a particularly quiet month for car sales, because of the March numberplate change. 

“Despite February’s traditional low registration numbers, consumers are switching to EVs in ever-increasing numbers. More than ever, infrastructure investment needs to accelerate to match this growth,” said SMMT chief executive Mike Hawes.

Hawes also called for additional support for customers, with rising energy prices and the end of the EV home-charge scheme this April. 

The SMMT has also called for VAT on electricity used at public chargers to be cut to match the level seen when charging from home. Last month, it called for a regulated EV charger mandate

“Government must use its upcoming Spring statement to enable this transition, continuing support for home and workplace charging, boosting public charge-point rollout to tackle charging anxiety and, given the massive increase in energy prices, reducing VAT on public charging points," it said. "This will energise both consumer and business confidence and accelerate our switch to zero emission mobility.”

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