The UK car market continues to gain traction, recording its 22nd consecutive month of growth this May. According to the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT), registrations rose by 1.7 per cent, making it the best performance for May since 2021, with a total of 147,678 units hitting the roads. The Kia Sportage was the best-selling model in the United Kingdom last month.

Fleet and business registrations were the primary drivers of this growth, surging by 14.0 per cent and 9.5 per cent respectively. This increase managed to counterbalance a notable 12.9 per cent decline in private retail sales. While traditional petrol and diesel vehicle deliveries saw a decline, the demand for electrified vehicles has seen a substantial rise.

UK's best-selling models in April 2024

  1. Kia Sportage - 4,202
  2. Ford Puma - 3,812
  3. Audi A3 - 3,017
  4. VW Golf - 2,922
  5. Vauxhall Corsa - 2,671
  6. VW Polo - 2,669
  7. Nissan Qashqai - 2,637
  8. MG ZS - 2,630
  9. Hyundai Tucson - 2,613
  10. Nissan Juke - 2,468

Plug-in hybrid vehicles led the charge among alternative powertrains, with registrations skyrocketing by 31.5 per cent. Hybrids also saw a healthy increase of 9.6 per cent, securing their position as the third most popular fuel type, following petrol and battery electric vehicles, at 13.2 per cent of the market.

Battery electric vehicles (BEVs) continued their upward trajectory, with registrations increasing by 6.2 per cent, climbing to a 17.6 per cent market share, up from 16.9 per cent in the same period last year. The fleet sector remains a key driver for BEV growth, with volumes rising by 10.7 per cent. However, private retail BEV uptake saw a slight dip of 2.0 per cent, falling just 98 registrations short of May 2023's figures.

UK new car registrations, May 2024

The Kia Sportage registered 4,202 deliveries last month, thus leaving the Ford Puma on second place with 3,812. The Audi A3 came third with 3,017 sales, followed by the VW Golf (2,992) and Vauxhall Corsa (2,671). However, the Puma has retained the crown as the best-selling model so far in 2024 with 23,205 sales since January 1. The Sportage is second (20,026), followed by the Nissan Qashqai (19,687).

UK’s best-selling models year-to-date

  1.  Ford Puma - 23,205
  2. Kia Sportage - 20,026
  3. Nissan Qashqai - 19,687
  4. Audi A3 - 16,520
  5. VW Golf - 15,573
  6. Nissan Juke - 15,538
  7. BMW 1 Series - 14,190
  8. MG HS - 14,161
  9. VW T-Roc - 13,323
  10. Vauxhall Corsa - 12,925

"As Britain prepares for next month’s general election, the new car market continues to hold steady as large fleets sustain growth, offsetting weakened private retail demand. Consumers enjoy a plethora of new electric models and some very attractive offers, but manufacturers can’t sustain this scale of support on their own indefinitely. Their success so far should be a signpost for the next government that a faster and fairer transition requires carrots, not just sticks," Mike Hawes, SMMT Chief Executive, commented.