Fleet buyers help power new car sales but EVs are suffering because of one thing

New car sales posted their 21st month of growth in April, up 1% according to industry body the Society of Motor Manufacturers & Traders.

It said that 134,274 new vehicles were sold last month, versus 132,990 for the same month last year. The increase was driven by fleet buyers, who bought 81,207 to upgrade their fleets, an increase of 18.5%. That offset a 17.7% fall from private motorists and 16.1% decline in purchases from business buyers.

Demand for hybrids and electric vehicles drove the increase in sales, according to the SMMT’s data. It found that 22,717 battery electric vehicles were sold last month, up 10.7%, while for plug-in hybrids, sales rose from 8,595 to 10,493. Hybrid electric vehicle sales accelerated 16.7% to 17,538.

SMMT chief executive Mike Hawes said: “The new car market continues to grow even in the quieter months, driven primarily by fleet demand.”

He added that while tax incentives have helped fuel fleet demand for new battery electric cars, the absence of such for private individuals has led to a slump in sales. The Government also needs to tackle the lack of infrastructure in order to boost consumer confidence, he said.

“Temporarily cutting VAT, treating EVs as fiscally mainstream not luxury vehicles, and taking steps to instil consumer confidence in the charge point network will drive the market growth on which Britain’s net zero ambition depends,” he said.


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