Insight News

New Car Market Update November 2020

Rob Donaldson | 13 Nov 2020

About the author

Rob Donaldson

UK Car Editor

Born in Acton, London, Robert worked for several blue-chip organisations including Compaq, British Airways and 3M. Of interest, Robert also owned a repair garage with his brother in the 90s with whom he restored Classic cars, before joining Glass’s in 2006.

Following September, new car registrations in October had a relatively low bar to clear to eclipse last year’s total, due to the WLTP emissions testing challenges faced in 2019.  However, once again registrations failed to match last year’s figure coming in 1.6% lower at 140,945, according to the latest figures published by the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT). This was the lowest October total for nine years and over 10% lower than the average October total over the last decade.

There was potential for an uptick in October, but with the Welsh lockdown towards the end of the month hitting registrations in the region by up to 25%, any momentum fizzled out. On a positive note, October was the least-worse month-on-month comparison versus 2019 (see chart below). The year to date registration total is now down 31%.

Data courtesy of SMMT

Pure petrol cars saw a 21.3% reduction while diesel fell a significant 38.4% and accounted for just 14.9% of the new car market in October. However, large increases in mild-hybrid (MHEV) models mitigate these figures as they jumped significantly compared to last October, with petrol MHEV up 545.8% and Diesel MHEV up 56.6%. This shift has played out all year as shown in the year-to-date chart below, as car manufacturers continue to reduce CO2 outputs using mild-hybrid technologies.

Data courtesy of SMMT

Despite the year’s very low total registration figure, the bright spot continues to be alternative fuel vehicles, especially Battery Electric Vehicles (BEVs). With the registration total of BEVs almost trebling in October compared to last year. The adoption of BEVs is higher in the fleet market, with 43,146 cars registered year-to-date compared to the private market at 26,682. Benefit in kind (BIK) taxation benefits and product confidence make the BEV proposition more compelling to company car users. For private retail customers, the lack of taxation savings, higher list prices (versus internal combustion engine vehicles), lack of knowledge of both longer driving ranges and the potential for the total cost of ownership savings, makes the BEV purchase proposition more difficult for private consumers with the increased upfront financial burden.

You might be also interested in

New Car Market Update August 2020

10 Aug 2020

At last there is some positivity to report in the new car market, with July registrations recording the first increase of the year. Registrations came...

New Car Market Update September 2020

14 Sep 2020

The latest figures released by the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) showed that registrations in August declined by 5.8%, suggesting another very disappointing...

Yes, please sign me up to UK news and insights

* Mandatory


Yes, please sign me to up to receive the following emails:
National automotive insight, surveys and events - Sent now and again by Glass’s Information Services Ltd in English

We use pixels in our emails to monitor whenever you open, forward or click on the URLs in our emails. This helps us to monitor and measure the performance and effectiveness of our emails. We combine this with the information you provide above and your browsing information so that we can better tailor and improve our marketing to you and personalise your user experience on our website. By signing up, you are consenting to the use of your data for the purpose of sending you the selected emails and to the use of tracking pixels. You can withdraw your consent to receive our emails and the related tracking at any time by following this link to our Email Preference Centre and updating your preferences. For additional information on the processing of your personal data, please refer to the Autovista Group Privacy Policy and the Glass’s Privacy Policy.