The coronavirus crisis makes for interesting data. With the British car market at an all-time low – no more than 4,321 new cars were listed this April – electric cars, Tesla especially, came out on top with sales staying relatively stable YoY.
Data from the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) result in a market share of 31.8 per cent for all-electric cars this April as general new registrations declined. Just 4,321 new vehicles were sold in April, down from 161,064 in the same period last year (-97.3%).
The decline for electric cars was much lower, given they were coming from lower 2019 levels. British buyers bought 1,374 all-electric vehicles in April this year, 9.7% less than in April 2019.
Of these, Tesla’s Model 3 was the most popular. In fact, the economy Tesla made it to the top of the list of all bestselling models and took an overall market share of 15 per cent (658 units). The most unusual list further featured the Jaguar I-Pace coming in second in April with 367 units sold. The Nissan Leaf made it to number 9 of the UK’s best-selling cars, albeit by selling just 72 units this month.
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The relatively high sales of these electric cars are likely to be due to company fleets. The SMMT says these accounted for 70% of all sales in April. Recent changes introduced to the UK vehicle excise duty system saw EVs become exempt from benefit-in-kind tax, thus enhancing their appeal for fleet buyers. In the case of Tesla, they also completed a high number of online pre-orders before the lockdown, Autocar suggests.
Other electrified sales included 95 PHEVs (-95.1%) and 48 HEVs (-99.3%) in April 2019.
Overall, SMMT suggests a steep decline in the general car market this year and downgraded the new car market forecast for 2020 to just 1.68 million registrations. This puts the sector on course to record its worst performance since 1992 and below the levels seen during the financial crisis. Despite this, the BEV market is expected to double in 2020 to 77,300 units as new model introductions bolster the market, writes SMMT.
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