Ford Puma

Ford Puma was the top-selling new car model

The new car market grew 28.3% in July with 143,921 new vehicles registered, according to the latest figures from the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT).

This means the market has enjoyed continuous growth for a full year, and it was the best July performance since 2020, when pent-up demand for new cars was unleashed following three months of lockdown during the pandemic. Despite the continuous growth, however, the overall market year to date remains behind pre-pandemic levels.

Petrol cars still dominate the market with a 40.4% share in July but electrified vehicles accounted for more than a third (35.4% of the market) while diesel declined to a 4% share.

Plug-in hybrid (PHEV) registrations saw a significant uplift for the second month in a row as uptake rose 79.1% to account for 8.1% of the market. The biggest increase, however, was for battery electric vehicles (BEVs), which recorded an 87.9% increase to account for 16.0% of all new registrations for the month, a market share broadly consistent with that seen so far this year.

The demand for battery electric cars was such that a new one was registered every 60 seconds in the month. Furthermore, according to the latest market outlook published by SMMT today, this will accelerate to one every 50 seconds by the end of the year, and up to one every 40 seconds by the end of 2024.

SMMT chief executive Mike Hawes said: “The industry remains committed to meeting the UK’s zero-emission deadlines and continues to make the investments to get us there. Choice and innovation in the market are growing, so it’s encouraging to see more people switching on to the benefits of driving electric. With inflation, rising costs of living and a zero-emission vehicle mandate that will dictate the market coming next year, however, consumers must be given every possible incentive to buy. Government must pull every lever, therefore, to make buying, running and, especially, charging an EV affordable and practical for every driver in every part of the country.”