Despite the ongoing pandemic, the crucial month of March (number plate change month) shows signs of recovery. However, still one of the worst March trading results since 2005!
The electric driving sector in 2021 has already witnessed an interesting start. The UK government plug-in car grant (PiCG) was reduced in March 2021. The maximum grant now available is £2,500 (reduced from £3,000).
The government is keen to encourage the uptake of affordable electric cars, hence the reason why the criteria for an EV to qualify has also been reduced from £50,000 purchase price (RRP) to £35,000 purchase price (RRP). Best-selling electric cars like the Tesla Model 3 do not qualify for the grant.
For those of you keen to learn more about zero-emission electric driving, we would encourage a read of the following articles:
- Types Of Electric Vehicles: A Short Guide
- Should I Buy An Electric Car In 2021?
- UK Plug-In Electric Car Grant 2021: Take Advantage While The PiCG Incentive Is Still Available!
Before moving onto the latest results i.e. the March 2021 new car registrations update, let us briefly remind ourselves of the February 2021 registrations update.
February 2021 remained upbeat for battery-electric vehicles (BEVs), despite an overall challenging trading environment.
However, internal combustion engine (ICE) vehicles performance continued to remain weak. Petrol new car registrations were down by 44.5% in February 2021, compared to February 2020. Diesel performed worse, with a 61.0% decline. Diesel market share decreased from 21.8% in February 2020 to 13.2% in February 2021. Petrol market share declined from 60.6% to 52.1% in the same period.
BEV market share increased from 3.2% in February 2020 to 6.9% in February 2021. PHEVs (plug-in hybrid electric vehicles) also witnessed a similar increase from 2.6% in February 2020 to 6.1% in February 2021.
March 2021 New Car Registrations (SMMT)
The March 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 March 2020 to March 2021 from 17.6% to 10.8%.
The same is the trend with petrol cars, witnessing a decline from 60% to 48.4% between March 2020 to March 2021. In terms of registrations, diesel registrations declined by 31.4% in March 2021 compared to March 2020, with petrol registrations decreasing 10% in March 2021, compared to 2020.
However, despite the ongoing lockdown, trading performance has improved, albeit, slightly. Total registrations were up 11.5% compared to 2020, but still one of the worst performing March registrations since 2005 (283,964 registration in March 2021).
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. Year-to-date the market is lower by 12% compared to 2020, but significantly lower compare to pre-pandemic trading.
Battery-electric vehicle (BEV) and Plug-In Hybrid Electric Vehicle (PHEV) registrations continue to increase, up 74.1% and 93.6%, respectively. However, year-to-date, petrol and diesel registrations are down 28.4% and 46.9%, respectively. It is interesting to note the increase in MHEV diesel and MHEV petrol registrations, up 88.1% and 100.6%, respectively.
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.
Though good to note the all-electric Tesla Model 3 on the March 2021 SMMT Best Sellers list, the lack of zero-emission electric cars and plug-in hybrid electric cars, 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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