The UK new car market saw a thirty-fold increase in April according to the latest SMMT figures, PHEVs were more popular than BEVs following the cuts to the plug-in grant.

Sales of new cars bounced back in April reflecting the significant pent-up demand as the lockdown was eased across the UK and dealerships reopened.

The UK new car market saw a thirty-fold increase in April with 141,583 units registered compared with just 4,321 last year. Demand from private customers rose from just 871 registrations last April to 61,935. Sales of all segments experienced huge growth. SMMT has revised its forecasts upwards from 1.83 million to around 1.86 million new cars to be registered in 2021.

Sales of plug-in vehicles continued their upward trend in April. With new models coming to the market and retailers working hard to inform their customers and instil “charge confidence” as opposed to range anxiety, the sector is bound to perform well.

Total plug-in vehicle market share remains in line with recent months, accounting for just over one in eight vehicles, or 13.2%. Plug-in hybrids (PHEVs), at 6.8% of the market, were more popular than battery electric vehicles (BEVs) at 6.5%, following cuts to the Plug-in Car Grant. SMMT figures show monthly BEV uptake was down compared with Q1 2021 overall, however, as they had been running at 7.5% of total registrations.

In light of March’s changes to the Plug-in Car Grant, BEVs are now expected to account for 8.9% of registrations by year-end – down from the 9.3% initially forecast in January. With PHEVs anticipated to take a 6.3% market share, total plug-in vehicles should comprise 15.2% of all cars registered in 2021, according to SMMT’s forecast.

Overall, April’s new car sales figures are positive especially considering dealerships have been open for less than three weeks during the month, with sales previously supported by click & collect. Since reopening, dealer feedback suggests customer footfall and volume of enquiries at dealerships have been strong and driving schools are seeing a major increase in young people booking driving lessons and tests.