SMMT reports fourteenth consecutive month of growth

The UK car market experienced its 14th consecutive month of growth with new car registrations growing 21 per cent in September, according to the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders.


With 272,610 registrations, September was also the second busiest month of the year after March, with the new number plate delivering its traditional market surge despite a challenging economic backdrop.

Large fleets rose 40.8 per cent to 143,256 units to reach a market share of 52.5 per cent. Private consumer demand was up 5.8 per cent to 122,944 units. Despite experiencing its best September since 2020, registrations remain -20.6 per cent below pre-pandemic levels.

Plug-in hybrid vehicles (PHEVs) were up 50.9 per cent to take a 6.8 per cent market share and hybrid electric vehicles (HEVs) up 30.7 per cent to account for 13.9 per cent of all registrations. Battery electric vehicles (BEVs) recorded their 41st consecutive month of growth with 45,323 drivers making the switch, an 18.9 per cent uplift.

BEV volume increases were driven by fleet purchases, which rose by 50.6 per cent as buyers were drawn to the advanced technology, performance, reduced environmental impact and tax incentives. Conversely, private BEV registrations fell -14.3 per cent with less than one in 10 private new car buyers opting for electric during the month.

Despite an end of sale date now aligned with other major markets, the UK still has the most challenging zero emission vehicle (ZEV) transition timeline.


The Zero Emission Vehicle Mandate requires ZEVs to comprise half of each manufacturer’s new registrations within five years, and 80 per cent by 2030.

Achieving this will depend on private buyers making the transition, along with business and fleet customers. Unlike other major markets working towards a 2035 end of sale date, UK private motorists have no purchase incentive to encourage them to invest in electric mobility, SMMT asserted.

In a statement, Mike Hawes, SMMT chief executive, said, “A bumper September means the new car market remains strong despite economic challenges. However, with tougher EV targets for manufacturers coming into force next year, we need to accelerate the transition, encouraging all motorists to make the switch.

“This means adding carrots to the stick – creating private purchase incentives aligned with business benefits, equalising on-street charging VAT with off-street domestic rates and mandating chargepoint rollout in line with how electric vehicle sales are now to be dictated.

“The forthcoming Autumn Statement is the perfect opportunity to create the conditions that will deliver the zero emission mobility essential to our shared net zero ambition.”