The new car market grew by almost a quarter in November as demand for electric vehicles and company cars fuelled the industry. That’s according to new figures from the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT), which show the market grew by 23.5 percent compared with the same month last year.

With almost 143,000 new cars registered over the course of November, the sector enjoyed its fourth consecutive month of year-on-year growth. As a result, last month represented the best November for the new car market since the eleventh month of 2019, just a few months before the coronavirus pandemic struck.

While registrations have clearly not recovered to pre-pandemic levels, the SMMT said the industry’s present performance showed the possibility of a recovery. In particular, the organisation said adoption of electric vehicles and a growth in registrations of company cars had fuelled November’s growth.

1. Nissan Qashqai

Registrations by large fleets were up by 45.4 percent compared with November last year, and though demand from private buyers also grew, it rose by a vastly more modest 2.7 percent. Business registrations, meanwhile, more than doubled, but they still accounted for less than three percent of the market overall.

Sales of all vehicle types were up, too, with even the diesel market enjoying growth, but electric cars led the charge, up by more than 20 percent on last November’s registrations. Hybrid sales also saw a double-digit increase in registrations, while plug-in hybrid registrations were up by just over seven percent.

MINI Cooper SE Electric Collection charging

Over the first 11 months of the year, registrations are slightly down compared with 2021, although more than 1.5 million new cars have been registered in the UK. As a result, the SMMT says the market will remain below pre-pandemic levels into 2023, despite signs of supply shortages easing.

However, the orgainsation’s chief executive, Mike Hawes, said the market needed “urgent” support from the government to help drive electric car adoption and ensure investment.

“Recovery for Britain’s new car market is back within our grasp, energised by electrified vehicles and the sector’s resilience in the face of supply and economic challenges,” said Hawes. “As the sector looks to ensure that growth is sustainable for the long term, urgent measures are required – not least a fair approach to driving EV adoption that recognises these vehicles remain more expensive, and measures to compel investment in a charging network that is built ahead of need. By doing so we can encourage consumer appetite across the country and accelerate the UK’s journey to net zero.”