New car registrations drop 35.5% in February however plug-in vehicles continued to enjoy growth with a 13% market share

Record year for carbon reduction despite COVID stalling economic progress


  • Weakest February since 1959 as 28,282 fewer cars registered during traditionally quiet month.

  • Battery electric and plug-in hybrid vehicles continue to spark demand, accounting for more than one in eight registrations.


The UK new car market declined by -35.5% in February as 28,282 fewer units were registered during a traditionally weak month for new vehicle uptake, according to figures published today by the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT). The industry recorded its lowest February uptake since 1959, with 51,312 new cars registered.


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With showrooms closed nationwide since 5 January – and in many parts of the country, since December – both private and fleet sector demand fell, by -37.3% and -33.5% respectively. All vehicle segments saw declines save for luxury saloons, which recorded a 3.8% increase against a statistically very small proportion of the market.


However, plug-in vehicles continued to enjoy growth, with battery electric and plug-in hybrid taking a combined 13.0% market share for the month, up from just 5.7% in February 2020. Battery electric cars uptake increased by 40.2% to 3,516, and plug-in hybrid by 52.1% to 3,131 as the industry continues to promote a broad range of lower-emission technologies for consumers.



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