EVs accounted for a record 1.4% of the UK market in July, but the struggles of diesel and PHEVs meant overall sales fell
James Attwood, digital editor
5 August 2019

A sharp rise in demand pushed electric cars to their highest-ever share of the UK car market in July, while sales of diesel and plug-in hybrid cars continued to fall.

A total of 157,198 cars were sold in the UK last month, according to figures from the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT). That's a 4.1% decline on the same month last year and represents the fewest cars sold in July since 2012. The SMMT cited continued political and economic uncertainty, along with confusion over future government policy on fuel types, as key reasons behind the fifth consecutive monthly decline.

Diesel registrations fell 22.1% year-on-year, the 28th consecutive monthly decline for the fuel type, with 40,651 cars sold. By contrast, the 103,441 petrol cars sold represented a 2.6% year-on-year rise. Notably, while private sales dropped 2.0% year-on-year, sales to fleet and business customers were down 4.7% and 22.5% respectively.

There were 2271 battery electric vehicles  sold last month, a 158.1% increase on the 880 sold in July 2018. That total represented 1.4% of all cars sold in the UK last month – a new record – and means the 14,246 EVs sold so far in 2019 represent 1% of the total UK market.

By contrast, recent changes in government tax policy reducing incentives for plug-in hybrid vehicle (PHEV) buyers continued to impact the market, with the 1764 PHEVs sold last month down 49.6% year-on-year. By contrast, the 7758 hybrid vehicles sold in July represented a 34.2% year-on-year rise.

SMMT chief executive Mike Hawes called the growth of EV sales “encouraging”. He said: “Thanks to manufacturers’ investment in these new technologies over many years, these cars are coming to market in greater numbers than ever before. If the UK is to meet its environmental ambitions, however, [the] Government must create the right conditions to drive uptake, including long-term incentives and investment in infrastructure.”

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The Ford Fiesta was again Britain's best-selling car in July, with 5646 examples sold. The Volkswagen Golf (4288) was second, ahead of the Nissan Qashqai (4047), Ford Focus (3863) and Mercedes-Benz A-Class (3702). 

In total, Ford has sold 48,943 Fiestas in the UK so far this year, putting it ahead of the Focus (36,102), Golf (35,781), Qashqai (33,227) and Vauxhall Corsa (33,061).

Read more

New car registrations: first half of 2018 down 6.3%

PHEV sales drop by half in June

Government won't reinstate plug-in hybrid grants

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Comments
7

5 August 2019

I think this stat alone shows it was just a tax dodge, going frowards manufacturers will now excercise more caution in whether this is the correct path both in the short and long term, certainly in regards of the mid-priced sector.

6 August 2019
xxxx wrote:

I think this stat alone shows it was just a tax dodge, going frowards manufacturers will now excercise more caution in whether this is the correct path both in the short and long term, certainly in regards of the mid-priced sector.

Not sure I agree that they are just a tax dodge as even without the incentive they are still a good buy for company car drivers as they still have a low rate, also they do suit a lot of people who only commute a short distance but occasionally drive further, I for example could charge up over night and probably get to and from work for a couple of days or so before recharging, so using electric drive in the town which is good but could still go on a long distance drive using the engine, so I think they still have a place but should be equipped with a bigger battery and smaller engine though. Like electric cars they don't suit everyone but for now at least I think there is still a market, though with Bev's getting better all the time that market is shrinking.

 

As others have said availability must be affecting sales of all types of car a lot of which is caused by wltp ratings.

Also in think this is the first time I have read something from Mike Hawes that I actually agreed with, yes the government does need to incentivise and work on infrastructure to improve the uptake of Bev's in order to meet their environmental ambitions.

5 August 2019

The car sales in july  and august would be lower becuase of the new reg plate in september  it will be intresting to see what the increase is  in electric car makes next month 

 

 

5 August 2019
Brianalf wrote:

The car sales in july  and august would be lower becuase of the new reg plate in september  it will be intresting to see what the increase is  in electric car makes next month 

Year-on-year means compared to same time last year, therefore any new registration factor is irrelevant.

Not sure if it's due to WLTP but there are still a number of popular vehicles who's delivery date is well in to next year. Small petrol engine SUV ( especially anything from VW group ) being affected, with order books closed for some options. This must have an impact on sales.

5 August 2019

The lack of supply is probably at the route of the lower PHev sales.  VW have taken models off of sale. Volvo and Kia quoting next March for delivery etc.   Trying to buy an PHev is not easy at the moment.

 

5 August 2019

The public gets what the public wants!

9 August 2019

I believe the government were wrong with the removal of this yet still keeping the low BiK rates. The reason quoted was cars going back after leases with charging cables in bags. My guess this is company users who still get preferential tax rates yet private users who probably charge the car are penalised.

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