Some 142,889 new cars were registered in November, up 23.5% on the same month last year. Overall, registrations last month were 8.8% below pre-coronavirus levels.
The most in-demand supermini and lower medium vehicle segments both grew by 21.5% and 20.5% respectively in November, while dual purpose vehicles increased by 21.8%.
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There was significant growth in luxury saloon and multi-purpose vehicles, up 87.3% and 288.6%, but these segments still remain a small section of the market.
The Nissan Qashqai was November’s best seller — and it remains the number one sold car this year so far — with 5,636 units sold last month.
Electric vehicles (EVs) remained popular in the UK, with the Tesla Model Y selling 4,229 units in November, making it the second best selling car of the month.
A British favourite, the MINI, came in at number three. The addition of the all-electric model helped bump up sales figures to 3,312 units rolling out of the assembly line and straight onto UK roads last month.
Plug-in electric vehicles made up more than one in four (27.7%) new registrations, with battery electric vehicles (BEVs) taking their largest monthly share of the new car market in 2022.
Sales of petrol-fuelled cars were up 15% year-on-year, while diesel fell over 5%.
The SMMT anticipates that more new cars will be sold in 2023 compared with this year, but expects demand to remain below pre-COVID levels.
Chief executive Mike Hawes said: “Recovery for Britain’s new car market is back within our grasp, energised by electrified vehicles and the sector’s resilience in the face of supply and economic challenges.
“As the sector looks to ensure that growth is sustainable for the long term, urgent measures are required — not least a fair approach to driving EV adoption that recognises these vehicles remain more expensive, and measures to compel investment in a charging network that is built ahead of need.
“By doing so we can encourage consumer appetite across the country and accelerate the UK’s journey to net zero.”
Ian Plummer, director of automotive classified advertising company Auto Trader, said: “Even though sales of electric cars have jumped more than a third in the past year, there are big question marks over how long this will last.
“Our data shows the cost-of-living crisis and high electricity prices are turning people away from EVs.
“Battery EVs accounted for just 19% of our retailers’ sales leads in November compared with more than a quarter in June.”