Electric car registrations slow despite overall new car sales growth

Pure-electric car take-up was steady in November 2023 with plug-in hybrids surging in popularity

After a bumper month for premium brands in October, we’ve returned to seeing more familiar faces at the top of the UK’s best-selling cars list for November with the Ford Puma, Nissan Qashqai and Vauxhall Corsa leading the way. 

The UK’s best-selling car of November was once again the Ford Puma, which extended its lead over last year’s best-seller - the Nissan Qashqai (with the British-built Japanese SUV still having a decent month in third). Splitting the two in November was the Vauxhall Corsa, which sits third overall in 2023. 

After an impressive October as the month’s second best-selling car, the MINI continued its good form with fourth in November - enough to bump it up one place for the year to seventh. Mid-sized SUVs were the flavour of the month with the Ford Kuga, Kia Sportage and MG HS also appearing in November’s top 10 and then the Volkswagen Golf and Audi A3 showcasing their everlasting appeal, despite facelift variants of the two premium hatchbacks coming soon. 

It didn’t feature in the top 10 for last month but in 2023 the Tesla Model Y remains the country’s best-selling electric car. 

The overall outlook for the UK car industry looks positive in 2023. The year-to-date figure of 1,761,962 cars sold is 18.6 per cent up on 2022 and while some people might be tightening their purse strings ahead of winter in light of high cost of living and heating costs, almost 3,000 more cars were sold in November compared to October. 

Those figures don’t tell the full story however. Fleet has overtaken private sales and now accounts for a whopping 53.8 per cent of the market in 2023. Private sales have grown in 2022, but only by one per cent for the year so far.  

BEV (battery electric vehicle) sales in November dropped steeply with a 17.1 per cent decrease compared to 2022 - although BEV registrations are up 27.5 per cent for 2023 so far. Pure-electric car sales have larger market share this year as expected but only by 1.2 per cent. Plug-in hybrid cars have risen massively in popularity recently with a 60.5 per cent increase in October and 55.8 per cent in November. 

Petrol car sales are up in 2023 by 12.5 per cent and diesel, as expected, is down by 15.7 per cent - both have a smaller share of the market in 2023.

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Senior news reporter

A keen petrol-head, Alastair Crooks has a degree in journalism and worked as a car salesman for a variety of manufacturers before joining Auto Express in Spring 2019 as a Content Editor. Now, as our senior news reporter, his daily duties involve tracking down the latest news and writing reviews.

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