The latest figures released by SMMT show that the market has bounced back considerably in April. The full lockdown in April 2020 resulted in only 4,321 new cars registered. With 141,583 being registered in April 2021 this represents a significant bounce back, although still down 13% on the 10 year average. Electric and hybrids share declines slightly in the month against March from 40.4% to 39.6%. However YTD YOY performance remains strong with 39.5% in 2021, up from 20.8% in 2020. This is mainly being driven by the mild hybrid market. Pure electric market share grew from 4.0% to 7.2%.
The re-opening of car showrooms had a dramatic impact on car sales in April. Compared with the 10 year average April was down only 13% compared to 37% in March. Petrol cars saw a slight increase in market share from 48.4% in March to 50.3% in April. Diesel continued its fall in popularity, dropping below 10% at 9.9% (10.8% March 2021, 17.6% March 2020).
Whilst electric and hybrids share declined slightly in April the YTD growth still remains strong with 39.6%, up from 20.8% in 2020.
Looking more closely at the figures the diesel market, including mild hybrid diesels is down only 5%. YTD registrations are 104,173 down from 109,722. The total market share dropping from 22.5% to 18.3%. Whilst there is no doubt that new mild hybrid diesel cars are much cleaner than older models we feel that the decline in ‘diesel’ is being distorted by mild hybrids. These ‘tax dodge’ cars are being effectively used by manufacturers as a cheap alternative to pure electric cars. The sooner the UK Government closes the company car tax loophole on these cars, the better.