The automotive industry faced one of its most challenging years in 2020, contending with national lockdowns, plus factory and dealership shutdowns.
Despite the pandemic, 1.63 million new cars were registered in the UK, compared with 2.3m in 2019 – a decline of nearly a third (29%), and the lowest total since 1992.
However, there was some good news in the figures released by the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT). Battery and plug-in hybrid electric cars accounted for more than one in 10 registrations, up from around one in 30 in 2019.
Demand for electric vehicles (EVs) grew by 185.9% to 108,205 cars, while registrations of plug-in hybrids (PHEVs) rose 91.2% to 66,877.
Here’s are Britain’s most popular new cars of 2020…
- Ford Fiesta – 49,174 registrations
- Vauxhall Corsa – 46,439
- Volkswagen Golf – 43.109
- Ford Focus – 39,372
- Mercedes-Benz A Class – 37,608
- Nissan Qashqai – 33,972
- MINI – 31,233
- Volkswagen Polo – 26,965
- Ford Puma – 26,294
- Volvo XC40 – 25,023
“The automotive industry had a lot thrown at it last year, with Covid restrictions closing showrooms, trading tariffs in question as Brexit loomed, and with the government changing the goalposts again on the sale of new ICE vehicles, it’s not surprising that new car sales have taken a hit,” said Ian Plummer, Auto Trader’s Commercial Director.
“There have however been some bright spots as we’ve seen a healthy rise in the number of EVs on our roads. With consumer interest in greener technologies increasing, coupled with a plethora of new models now available, the green transition has certainly begun.
“If we were to see this continued level of uptake in EVs then we anticipate that sales of new EVs and plug in hybrids will overtake diesel cars in 2021, and then pure EVs will overtake those of their internal combustion engine counterparts in 2026.”