UK new car market grew 21% in September – industry body SMMT

(Reuters) -Britain’s new car market continued to grow in September, helped by a rise in registrations of the large fleet despite a challenging economic backdrop, industry data showed on Thursday.

The 14th consecutive month of growth saw 272,610 new cars registered, up 21% from last year, with large fleets rising 40.8% and plug-in hybrid vehicles up 50.9%, data from the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) showed.

However, the sales of private battery EVs fell 14.3% as less than one in 10 private new car buyers opted for EVs last month, it added.

“With tougher EV targets for manufacturers coming into force next year, we need to accelerate the transition, encouraging all motorists to make the switch,” SMMT Chief Executive Mike Hawes said in a statement.

“This means adding carrots to the stick – creating private purchase incentives aligned with business benefits, equalising on-street charging VAT with off-street domestic rates and mandating chargepoint rollout in line with how electric vehicle sales are now to be dictated.”

Britain’s zero emission vehicles mandate requires 22% of carmakers’ sales next year to be electric, rising in increments to 80% electric in 2030 – and 100% in 2035.

Only 20% of the vehicles produced between 2030 and 2035 will be able to burn petrol or diesel at all.

(Reporting by Sri Hari N S and Radhika Anilkumar in Bengaluru; Editing by Shilpi Majumdar and Dhanya Ann Thoppil)