New car sales in the UK declined, but registrations of electrified vehicles continued their upward trend despite the lockdown.

New car sales declined by -35.5% in February in the UK as a result of the lockdown, a total of 51,312 units were registered according to the latest SMMT figures.

Positively, Sales of battery electric vehicles (BEVs) and plug-in hybrid electric vehicles (PHEVs) continued the upward trend: up 40.2% and 52.1% respectively in February. Petrol Mild-Hybrid Electric Vehicles (MHEVs) grew by 56.8%, whilst diesel MHEVs were up 37.9%.  Registrations of petrol and diesel cars were down by -44.5% and -61.0% respectively.

Year to date, the overall new car market is now -38.1% below last year’s levels, to a total of 141,561 units; BEVs are up 49.0% and PHEVs 35.2%.

Sue Robinson, NFDA Chief Executive, said: “The decline of 35.5% in February was expected as the national lockdown continued, but looking ahead, with showrooms due to reopen soon and significant pent-up demand, dealers are optimistic”.

Commenting on the continued growth of the sales of electrified vehicles, she added: “Positively, sales of Battery and Plug-In Hybrid Electric Vehicles continued to rise, although with showrooms closed, feedback from retailers suggests that it can be more challenging to sell cars that consumers may not be fully familiar with, such as electrified vehicles that have only just entered the market. Customers want to see these cars, try them and ask questions in person, indicating that also our transition to a zero-emission market will benefit from the reopening of dealerships”.