• As car showrooms re-open, SMMT chief executive Mike Hawes says vehicle renewal is essential for Britain to achieve its green goals, as electric powertrains and more efficient engines deliver -21.7% reduction in CO2 emissions per average car over past decade.
  • With 150 models of battery electric, plug-in hybrid, fuel cell and hybrid electric vehicles on sale, that’s one in three models capable of zero emission motoring.

FT - SMMT Electrified 2021 Electric Vehicle line up crop (1)

New vehicle uptake is crucial to the UK reaching its emission reduction goals, as older, less efficient cars are taken off the road and replaced by the latest lower emission ones, according to the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT).

Research shows that the average new car in 2020 emitted -21.7% less CO2 than its 2010 counterpart, helping the country and the industry meet their respective climate change targets.

As showrooms reopen their doors this week, the SMMT says consumers will be greeted by a vast choice of the cleanest ever vehicles to suit their needs.

The latest analysis reveals that there are now 462 individual car models available in around 4,650 standard specifications augmented by an almost infinite number of options. With the widest ever choice of zero-emission cars – accounting for one in three available models – the SMMT says consumers will have a near limitless choice of mobility options as lockdown restrictions are eased. Now, they will also be able to tap directly into dealer expertise to identify the vehicle, power source and specification best suited for their needs.

Despite the variety available and anticipated consumer demand, the industry has warned that a full recovery by the end of the year remains highly challenging. New car registrations during Q1 2021 were -37.1% down on the average for 2010-2019, and for levels to return to ‘normal’ by the end of the year would require keys to a new car being handed over every 12 seconds.

With dealerships across Britain having rolled down their shutters on January 5, as part of lockdown, drivers will be rewarded for their patience over the past few months with an exceptional breadth of options that will ensure they can find the right vehicle for their needs. The automotive industry, which supports 864,000 skilled jobs across the country, has weathered a £22.2 billion loss in turnover from new car registrations since March 2020 and hopes the variety of options available will stimulate demand.

Mike Hawes, SMMT chief executive, said: “Consumers returning to showrooms will notice some changes, not just in the updated Covid safety measures, but also in the increasing choice of new car technologies and there are now more ’green’ choices than ever before. With 150 models of battery electric, plug-in hybrid, fuel cell and hybrid electric vehicles on sale, that’s one in three models capable of zero emission motoring”.

After one of the hardest years in living memory for everyone, reopening showrooms today takes the handbrake off UK Auto. With the widest and greenest choice of cars ever seen, unleashing pent up consumer demand can accelerate the industry’s recovery and that of the economy. As the automotive sector counts the cost of £22.2 billion lost in turnover during the pandemic, we hope today marks the start of that recovery, as well as giving consumers ever more choice for their motoring needs.”