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Deloitte comments on SMMT new car reg figures for March 2024

Jamie Hamilton, automotive partner and head of electric vehicles at Deloitte, said:

“New car registrations grew by 10.4% last month in the best March since 2019. This is particularly significant given this month remains the most important in the automotive industry calendar, with around a fifth of all new sales recorded following the launch of latest number plate. The introduction of the new ‘24’ registration plate saw over 300,000 new cars reach the roads.

“March also saw a slight uptick in battery electric vehicles (BEV) registrations at 3.8%, driven by fleet renewals, and now represent over 15% of the overall market. However, this remains below the government’s zero-emission vehicles (ZEV) target of 22%, driven by ongoing consumer concerns around price and access to charging infrastructure.

Deloitte’s recent Global Automotive Consumer study shows that affordability concerns are also among the top reasons to change vehicle as consumers continue to feel cost pressures. Initial sticker price, combined with continued uncertainties over residual prices and high interest rates, are resulting in higher monthly payments that are causing customers to hesitate about switching to a BEV. Additionally, concerns about being able to regularly access available public charging infrastructure continues to act as a drag to adoption, particularly for those customers without off-street parking. Plug-in hybrid electric vehicles (PHEV) are increasingly a more popular alternative for consumers in the meantime, with PHEV registrations growing 36.7% in March.”