In December, a typically quieter month for registrations, BEVs and HEVs both experienced growth, with remaining categories under-performing in comparison to the same time last year.

Overall, new car sales experienced a -18.2% decrease in December compared to the same month last year, the latest SMMT Figures showed. In total, 1,647,818 new cars had been registered in the year of 2021.

In December, Battery electric vehicles (BEVs) rose by a moderate 26.4% and plug-in hybrids (PHEVs) decreased by -8.7%. Registrations of diesel vehicles declined -67.1% and petrol declined -28.1%. Hybrid electric vehicles experienced 9.3% increase compared to last year.

SMMT figures showed combined battery electric and plug-in hybrid vehicles accounted for 33.2% of new vehicles hitting the road (36,041 units. BEVs accounted for 18.8% and PHEVs 9.3% respectively.

Sue Robinson, NFDA Chief Executive, said “Despite the recent challenges, there is cause for optimism. A poll conducted by NFDA revealed that 78.6%* of franchised vehicle dealers are optimistic about the level of demand in the year ahead as consumer confidence improves while we move through the pandemic and the electrification of the UK car parc continues apace.

“It is encouraging that sales of electric vehicles experienced significant growth in 2021, driven by the growing range of models available and retailers’ efforts to help their customers make informed choices. However, it is important that the transition to zero emissions continues to be supported by investments in the charging infrastructure and financial incentives for EV buyers. As a result, the recent cut to the plug-in grant was disappointing.

“Throughout 2022, we are confident retailers will continue to show their resilience and ability to meet buyers’ demand with growing footfall levels in showrooms and an ever-improving online offering from dealers”