Skip advert
Advertisement

New ‘24’ plate boosts UK new car sales in March after “two tough years”

According to the SMMT, over 300,000 new cars have received the new ‘24’ registration plate so far, with new car sales up 10% year-on-year

If you hear a gust outside your window, it may be the sound of the UK’s car industry taking a unanimous sigh of relief, as the latest data from the SMMT (Society of Motor Manufacturers and traders) show new car sales were up 10 per cent in March compared to this time last year. 

Advertisement - Article continues below

New car reg plate spotters won’t need too keen of an eye as there are already 317,786 cars on the road sporting the new ‘24’ numberplates, although total registrations still remain below pre-pandemic levels. In total, over 545,000 new cars have been registered so far in 2024.

The majority of this growth can be attributed to booming fleet sales, although the number of private sales fell 7 per cent year-on-year, no doubt due to the ongoing high levels of inflation and cost of living struggles. 

However, while petrol and hybrid car sales are booming – they now occupy 56 per cent and 14 per cent of the market respectively –  diesel and fully-electric car market share is slowly falling. Diesel cars now only account for 7.3 per cent of the UK’s car market. BEVs (battery electric vehicles) are seeing their highest-ever recorded sales (76,233 in March alone), but due to sky-high petrol and diesel registrations, market share fell this month by 1 per cent compared to last month – it’s slightly up since last year, though.

The best-selling model in March was none other than the Nissan Qashqai; no surprise, given Nissan’s petrol-hybrid family SUV was the UK’s overall best-seller in 2022 and runner-up in 2023. Almost 9,000 Qashqai examples made it onto our roads last month, with the Ford Puma only slightly behind with roughly 8,300. The Ford remains the UK’s best-seller year-to-date, however, while the title of the UK’s favourite electric car is still held by the Tesla Model Y, with as-near-as-makes-no-difference 5,600 units being sold in March, making it the ninth best-selling car overall.

Reacting to the latest figures, SMMT boss, Mike Hawes, said: “Market growth continues, fuelled by fleets investing after two tough years of constrained supply. A sluggish private market and shrinking EV market share, however, show the challenge ahead. 

“Manufacturers are providing compelling offers, but they can’t single-handedly fund the transition indefinitely. Government support for private consumers would send a positive message and deliver a faster, fairer transition on time and on target.”

Looking to sell your car? Our sister site Carwow has the fast and easy answer on our Sell My Car hub...

Skip advert
Advertisement
Consumer reporter

Tom is Auto Express' Consumer reporter, meaning he spends his time investigating the stories that matter to all motorists - enthusiasts or otherwise. An ex-BBC journalist and Multimedia Journalism graduate, Tom previously wrote for partner sites Carbuyer and DrivingElectric and you may also spot him throwing away his dignity by filming videos for the Auto Express social media channels.

Skip advert
Advertisement

Recommended

Government says ‘no’ to new cash incentives for electric car buyers
Parliament
News

Government says ‘no’ to new cash incentives for electric car buyers

A Lords Committee report backing car-makers’ calls for discounts to boost EV sales falls on deaf ears
19 Apr 2024
Tesla slashes Supercharger membership cost with 42 sites now open to all EVs
Tesla Superchargers
News

Tesla slashes Supercharger membership cost with 42 sites now open to all EVs

Tesla has cut the costs of its Supercharger Membership, which grants access to lower charging rates, by £2 per month
19 Apr 2024
Food or car insurance? Tough choices for low income households as costs spiral
Car insurance
News

Food or car insurance? Tough choices for low income households as costs spiral

Citizens Advice has told parliament’s Treasury Committee that people of colour pay, on average, £250 more for car insurance
18 Apr 2024
M25 weekend closure no.2 to bring “long delays” in May
Diversion route for the M25 closure between Junctions 8 and 10
News

M25 weekend closure no.2 to bring “long delays” in May

Further M25 closures are expected to take place throughout the year, with the next scheduled for 10-13 May
16 Apr 2024

Most Popular

‘Dacia Zen’ seven-year warranty brings added peace of mind
Dacia Duster - tailgate
News

‘Dacia Zen’ seven-year warranty brings added peace of mind

The value brand’s new warranty is also available on used cars, as well as for existing Dacia customers
16 Apr 2024
Car Deal of the Day: Mercedes EQC offers luxury EV motoring for £327 a month
Mercedes EQC - front cornering
News

Car Deal of the Day: Mercedes EQC offers luxury EV motoring for £327 a month

Mercedes’s EQC showed that the German firm was serious about electric cars and it’s our Car Deal of the Day for Monday 15 April
15 Apr 2024
New Nissan Qashqai gets angry, as best-selling family SUV receives aggressive facelift
Nissan Qashqai reveal - front
News

New Nissan Qashqai gets angry, as best-selling family SUV receives aggressive facelift

In addition to its new much sharper design, the Qashqai now features Google apps and voice assistant built in
17 Apr 2024