Currently reading: Tesla Model 3 was UK’s best-selling new car in December
Almost 6000 examples of the EV were registered, beating the Volkswagen Golf by more than 1000

Last year was difficult for every manufacturer, but Tesla ended it on a high, with its Tesla Model 3 being the UK's best-selling car in December, according to the SMMT.

While overall new car registrations fell by 29.4% year on year across 2020, December was kinder to manufacturers, with a comparatively mild 10.9% drop in sales.

A total of 1,631,064 new cars were registered in the UK in 2020, compared with 2,311,140 in 2019. In December, 132,682 cars were registered, down from 148,997 in December 2019.

Just shy of 6000 examples of Tesla’s entry-level EV were registered in December, making it the best-selling car of the month. Its 5798 registrations gave it an advantage of more than 1000 over the next most popular car, the new Volkswagen Volkswagen Golf (4470) and more than 2000 over the Ford Ford Fiesta (3367).

It’s not far off double the number of new Volkswagen ID 3 electric cars that were registered, too.

Tesla’s achievement is notable because this is only the second time that the brand has topped the SMMT’s table. The Model 3 was also the UK’s best-selling car in April, following a boom in online orders before the car industry locked down due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

The reasons for Tesla’s success in December are more opaque but are likely due to the timing of its latest batch of deliveries, which arrived in November. This was too late for the Model 3 to keep its title of Europe’s best-selling electric car, which it lost to the ID 3 in October, but will have considerably bolstered its performance in the UK ratings.

As well as the Model 3, demand for all EVs surged in 2020. Hybrids and electric cars enjoyed their best year yet, together accounting for more than one in 10 registrations, up from around one in 30 in 2019.

Demand for EVs grew by 185.9% in 2020, with 108,205 such cars finding buyers. Plug-in hybrids also gained popularity, with registrations rising 91.2% to 66,877.

A combination of increased public awareness of the environmental benefits of EVs and stiff new regulations, such as the UK government’s planned 2030 ban on new ICE vehicle sales, are among the factors behind this rise.


Tesla almost hits 500,000 deliveries in 2020 despite pandemic 

Tesla Model 3 is April's best-selling new car in UK 

Official: Government to ban new petrol and diesel car sales in 2030

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ricequackers 7 January 2021

I still can't get my head around how so many people can afford such expensive electric cars. I earn very good money myself, but a Model 3 comes in at 70%+ of my annual take-home income. Even the smaller, cheaper electric cars clock in at close to £30k which is about the average annual income.

Is the country a lot richer than I thought, or are people just borrowing way beyond their means for a depreciating asset?

Macrium 7 January 2021

PCP or Business lease. There's 0% BIK tax for EV business car benefit, so it's a no brainer for anyone with a company car. 

ricequackers 7 January 2021

Aha, so in effect a tax dodge for business owners and anyone lucky enough to work somewhere that still offers a company car scheme.

Deputy 7 January 2021

Crikey, the amount of vitriol below is depressing! Anyway, well done Musk.  Like Bezos he understands that customer experience cruical, not just a 5 min Autocar test drive.  Think the supercharger network.  Why would you buy a Taycan and then have to sit in some second rate coffee shop waiting for it to trickle charge, whereas Tesla superchargers are awesome, quick and plentiful.  I almost ordered a Model 3, great online experience, helpful staff when I did a test drive and no "let me speak to my manger" dealer nonsense. I only didn't order one as waiting for the Model Y soon.  In comparison buying my new Volvo was like going to a 1970's car dealer.

Tom Simons 7 January 2021

Says  thro' gritted teeth !

Dislike of EV's is in plain sight here, (except for advertisers) no need to read between the lines - c'mon guys get over yourselves and your love of old noisy smelly tech. 

Bring on Kryton

lambo58 7 January 2021

It's no surprise. The games software company I work for ONLY buy Tesla, ( 15) so far.

Some minor build quality probs aside which were quickly fixed the supercharger network and built in range make these things unassailable.  Nothing else comes close