UK’s July car sales jump on strong EV demand – industry body

(Reuters) -A new battery electric car was sold every 60 seconds in the UK, driving the country’s automotive market in July, an industry body said on Friday, while trimming its growth forecast for next year on cost-of-living concerns.

The Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) cut its growth expectations by 0.7% to 1.951 million units.

British inflation, which hit a 41-year high of 11.1% last October, has been easing at a slower pace when compared with other developed economies.

“With inflation, rising costs of living and a zero emission vehicle mandate that will dictate the market coming next year, however, consumers must be given every possible incentive to buy,” SMMT Chief Executive Mike Hawes said in a statement.

The UK government has proposed a zero-emission vehicle target, under which 22% of a manufacturer’s car sales must be BEVs starting next year.

The market had witnessed non-stop growth this year as supply chain snags eased, driving up production and deliveries in July, SMMT said.

“While the growth in electric vehicles hitting UK roads is significant, it must move even faster if it is to outpace the rest of the market and enable the UK to meet ambitious but necessary environmental targets,” SMMT added.

The industry body expects battery electric vehicles to snare 22.6% market share in 2024 after deliveries in July surged almost 88%.

“With an increasing range of EV models coming to the UK market, including those offered by new brands, consumers with petrol and diesel cars may be encouraged to switch over,” said Jamie Hamilton, automotive partner and head of electric vehicles at Deloitte.

Despite the 28% jump in registrations to 143,921 units last month, the overall market lags behind the pre-pandemic levels this year.

Last month, the industry body said it could take five more years for Britain to return to producing 1 million or more cars a year.

(Reporting by Radhika Anilkumar and Sinchita Mitra in Bengaluru; Editing by Shailesh Kuber and Dhanya Ann Thoppil)