“Despite the continued supply constraints, new car sales rose 27.5% in January as last year's market was heavily affected by the lockdown; positively, 85% of franchised dealers are optimistic about levels of consumer demand in the year ahead”, said Sue Robinson, Chief Executive of the National Franchised Dealers Association (NFDA), which represents franchised car and commercial vehicle retailers in the UK commenting on the latest SMMT’s new passenger car registration figures.
A total of 115,087 new cars were registered in January, 27.5% more than the same time last year when the market was impacted by the pandemic and showrooms had to remain shut.
An NFDA poll of franchised dealers conducted this week indicated that the majority of them are 'optimistic' about the levels of consumer demand in 2022*. NFDA's figures indicate also that dealers are generally more optimistic now than they were in December.
Overall registrations were driven by demand from private buyers, up by 64.1% from last year, whilst fleet remained stable.
Sales of electrified vehicles performed well, in particular, Battery Electric Vehicles (BEVs) were up 130.6%, Plug-In Hybrid Electric Vehicles (PHEVs) rose 47.3%.
Sue Robinson added: “It is encouraging to see that demand from private consumers drove the market in January, with extremely strong performances in the EV segments. At the same time, as customers come to terms with new vehicles' lead times, also the used car market remains robust.
“To ensure sustained growth in the electric vehicle market as more models become available, NFDA encourages consumers to visit an Electric Vehicle Approved dealer where experts can help overcome any uncertainties around switching to EV.
“Last year, as showrooms were closed, retailers relied on online sales and click & collect; however, the majority of franchised dealers reported that the volume of online enquiries in January was stable or, in most cases, up from the same period in 2021, showing that consumer appetite is buoyant.
“Going forward, there is confidence that demand will pick up further as supply improves”.
NOTES TO EDITORS
*The quick-fire poll was conducted by NFDA between Wednesday 2 and Thursday 3 February 2022; 42 chief executives representing a mix of small and large franchised dealer groups responded.
- When asked “How optimistic are you with the level of consumer demand in 2022?” 51.2% responded ‘slightly optimistic’ and 34.1% said ‘very optimistic’.
- Another question asked: “Throughout January 2022, was the volume of online enquiries at your dealership up or down from January 2021?” and 56.1% said online enquiries were up, 29.3% down and 14% constant.
- In response to “How did your level of optimism in consumer demand for January 2022 compare to December 2021?”, dealers said: more optimistic (51.22%), less optimistic (24.39%); the same (24.39%).
Electric Vehicle Approved (EVA, www.evapproved.co.uk) is the accreditation scheme launched by the NFDA to recognised dealers’ expertise in EVs and boost consumer demand. The scheme is co-funded by the Office for Zero Emission Vehicles (OZEV) and endorsed by Energy Saving Trust.
About the RMI
The Retail Motor Industry represents the interests of operators in England, Wales, Northern Ireland and the Isle of Man providing sales and services to motorists and businesses. The RMI has a formal association with the independent Scottish Motor Trade Association which represents the retail motor industry in Scotland.