UK New Car Registrations (SMMT): January 2021: The Potential For Yet Another Electrified Year!

smmt new car registrations

Before moving onto the latest results i.e. the January 2021 new car registrations update, let us briefly remind ourselves of the December 2020 registrations update. 

smmt new car registrations
UK New Car Registrations SMMT December 2020 (credit: SMMT)

December 2020 witnessed a continued increase in the registration of battery-electric vehicles (BEVs), despite a continued slowdown in the sales of petrol and diesel internal combustion engine (ICE) cars.  

Petrol new car registrations were down by 37.0% in December 2020, compared to December 2019.  Diesel performed worse, with a 52.5% decline. Diesel market share decreased from 22.3% in December 2019 to 11.9% in December 2020. Petrol market share declined from 62.4% to 44.1% in the same period.  

Volvo Electric Car: XC40 Recharge Plug-In Hybrid (Inscription Pro) SUV (credit: Volvo)
Volvo Electric Vehicles Available Via e-zoomed (credit: volvo)

BEV market share increased from 3.3% in December 2019 to 16.5% in December 2020. PHEVs (plug-in hybrid electric vehicles) also witnessed a similar increase from 3.0% in December 2019 to 6.9% in December 2020.

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For those of you new to zero-emission electric driving, we recommend a read of the following articles:

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January 2021 New Car Registrations

The January 2021 new car registrations update from The Society of Motor traders and Manufacturers (SMMT), is a continuation of the trend witnessed throughout last year i.e. diesel cars further declining in market share between January 2020 to January 2021 from 19.6% to 12.3%.  

UK New Car Registrations SMMT January 2021 (credit: SMMT)
UK New Car Registrations SMMT January 2021 (credit: SMMT)

The same is the trend with petrol cars, witnessing a decline from 60.9% to 49.8% between January 2020 to January 2021. In terms of registrations, diesel registrations have declined by 62.1% in January 2021 compared to January 2020, with petrol registrations decreasing 50.6% in January 2021. 

UK New Car Registrations SMMT January 2021 (credit: SMMT)
UK New Car Registrations SMMT January 2021 (credit: SMMT)

Given the ongoing lockdown, trading has continued to be impacted, with total registrations down 39.5% in January 2021 compared to the previous year. We expect trading conditions to continue to remain challenging for the 1st half of the year in 2021, as the UK continues to contain the impact of the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. However, we do expect the sale of pure electric cars and hybrid electric cars to perform well during this period, if indeed supply risks and bottlenecks are mitigated successfully by automotive manufacturers.

UK New Car Registrations SMMT January 2021 (credit: SMMT)
UK New Car Registrations SMMT January 2021 (credit: SMMT)

The lack of zero-emission electric cars and plug-in hybrid electric cars in the January 2021 SMMT Best Sellers list, is a firm reminder that much work needs to be done by all stakeholders to achieve large scale zero-emission electric driving in the UK.

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Ashvin Suri

Ashvin has been involved with the renewables, energy efficiency and infrastructure sectors since 2006. He is passionate about the transition to a low-carbon economy and electric transportation. Ashvin commenced his career in 1994, working with US investment banks in New York. Post his MBA from the London Business School (1996-1998), he continued to work in investment banking at Flemings (London) and JPMorgan (London). His roles included corporate finance advisory, M&A and capital raising. He has been involved across diverse industry sectors, to include engineering, aerospace, oil & gas, airports and automotive across Asia and Europe. In 2010, he co-founded a solar development platform, for large scale ground and roof solar projects to include the UK, Italy, Germany and France. He has also advised on various renewable energy (wind and solar) utility scale projects working with global institutional investors and independent power producers (IPP’s) in the renewable energy sector. He has also advised in key international markets like India, to include advising the TVS Group, a multi-billion dollar industrial and automotive group in India. Ashvin has also advised Indian Energy, an IPP backed by Guggenheim (a US$ 165 billion fund). He has also advised AMIH, a US$ 2 billion, Singapore based group. Ashvin has also worked in the real estate and infrastructure sector, to including working with the Matrix Group (a US$ 4 billion property group in the UK) to launch one of the first few institutional real estate funds for the Indian real estate market. The fund was successfully launched with significant institutional support from the UK/ European markets. He has also advised on water infrastructure, to include advising a Swedish clean technology company in the water sector. He is also a member of the Forbury Investment Network advisory committee. He has also been involved with a number of early stage ventures.

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