UK car market upbeat, says Pinsent Masons

Posted on 7 Aug 2013 by The Manufacturer

Neil Black, automotive partner at Pinsent Masons, comments on the latest new car registrations figures from The Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders.

Data released today shows that new car registrations have increased for a 17th consecutive month, underlining positive data from the retail sector.  Consumer and business confidence is upbeat as current sales are 8.4 percent ahead of the figures for 2012.

However, earlier in the week Government and local council spending on electric charging points for cars – part of the ‘Plugged-in Places’ initiative – came under stinging criticism after data suggested that many of the charging points were little used.

This strategy by the Government appears to be vindicated in part by figures for plug-in cars which show that sales have risen over 70.7 percent in the first seven months of the year.  Indeed compared to 2010, sales of plug-in cars are 11 times higher.

Whilst numbers are still low compared to petrol and diesel cars, a trend is developing which is likely to see usage of the charging points increase.  This is something of a chicken and an egg scenario, without a good network of charging points, plug-in cars, particularly pure electric cars are unworkable for most consumers.

Without the Government investment in this infrastructure it would be very difficult to encourage buyers into this market.  The ‘Plugged-in Places’ initiative has created the necessary network of charging points and sales of electric cars are starting to respond accordingly.

Hopefully over time this initiative and the cost of it will be fully vindicated.