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Car sales rocket up as dealerships reopen

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The number of new cars registered in April jumped by an incredible 3,176% compared to the same month in 2020, new data from the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) has revealed.

The figures show that a total of 141,583 new cars were registered over the month, compared to just 4,321 in April last year when the first national lockdown had taken effect.

As a result, new car registrations in the year-to-date are up by a little over 16%.

While the registration numbers are substantially up on an annual basis, they remain markedly down on the sales figures usually seen at this time of year. According to the SMMT the April figures are down by 14.5% on the 10-year average.

Mike Hawes, chief executive of the SMMT, admitted that a full recovery for the car sector remained “some way off”, but argued that with showrooms open and test drives available once more, the industry could rebuild.

He added: “Market confidence is improving, and we now expect to finish the year in a slightly better position than anticipated in February, largely thanks to the more upbeat business and consumer confidence created by the successful vaccine rollout. That confidence should also translate into another record year for electric vehicles, which will likely account for more than one in seven new car registrations.”

The jump in electric car sales

There’s no denying the sharp increase in interest from drivers for electric vehicles.

The SMMT data shows the various types of electric vehicle all saw big jumps in sales figures in the year to date. Mild hybrid diesel sales are up by 141%, while mild hybrid petrol vehicle sales are up by 172%. There have been similarly strong improvements in sales of plug-in hybrids and battery electric vehicles.

In stark contrast, sales of petrol and diesel motors have dropped markedly by 4.5% and 32% respectively.

There are a range of factors behind the growing popularity of electric vehicles, from the lower insurance costs to the government’s plan to ban the sale of new petrol and diesel cars from 2030.

The most popular cars

The SMMT figures also reveal the highest selling models of the year so far. Here’s how the top 10 break down:

Model Number sold in 2021
Vauxhall Corsa 16,381
Ford Fiesta 14,906
Mercedes Benz A-Class 13,439
Nissan Qashqai 12,832
Volkswagen Golf 10,798
Ford Puma 10,597
Kia Sportage 10,407
Volvo XC40 10,339
BMW 3 Series 10,222
Ford Kuga 9,640


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