For the first time in five years, the UK's new car market has surpassed the half-million mark within the first half of the year. According to the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT), new car registrations in June saw a modest increase of 1.1 per cent, totalling 179,263 units. This brings the cumulative total for the first six months of 2024 to an impressive 1,006,763 new cars registered, marking a 6.0 per cent rise from last year. However, this figure remains 20.7 per cent lower than the pre-pandemic levels of 2019.

The slight uptick in June was largely driven by the fleet sector, which experienced a significant surge of 14.2 per cent in new registrations. In contrast, private retail demand continued to decline, dropping for the ninth month in a row by 15.3 per cent. Retail buyers now make up less than 40 per cent of the market, accounting for 37.7 per cent of new car registrations.

UK's best-selling models in June 2024:

  1. Kia Sportage - 4,113
  2. Nissan Juke - 3,891
  3. Tesla Model Y - 3,642
  4. VW Golf - 3,463
  5. BMW 1 Series - 3,397
  6. Hyundai Tucson - 3,271
  7. Nissan Qashqai - 3,194
  8. Ford Puma - 3,169
  9. MG ZS - 3,113
  10. Tesla Model 3 - 3,111

The growth in the market was also bolstered by the increasing popularity of electrified vehicles. Plug-in hybrid vehicles saw a substantial rise of 30.0 per cent, capturing a 9.3 per cent market share. Hybrid vehicles also performed well, with a 27.2 per cent increase, securing 14.9 per cent of the market. Despite this, battery-electric vehicles exhibited a more modest growth of 7.4 per cent. 

New car sales, UK, June 2024

New car sales, UK, June 2024

The best-selling model in the United Kingdom for June was the Kia Sportage with 4,113 deliveries, followed by the Nissan Juke (3,891) and Tesla Model Y (3,642). While the Ford Puma fell to eighth position with 3,169 sales, it was Britain’s best-seller for the first six years of the year with 26,374 sales.

“The year’s midpoint sees the new car market in its best state since 2021 – but this belies the bigger challenge ahead. The private consumer market continues to shrink against a difficult economic backdrop, but with the right policies in place, the next government can re-energise the market and deliver a faster, fairer zero-emission transition,” Mike Hawes, SMMT Chief Executive, commented.

UK’s best-selling models year-to-date:

  1. Ford Puma - 26,374
  2. Kia Sportage - 24,139
  3. Nissan Qashqai - 22,881
  4. Nissan Juke - 19,429
  5. Audi A3 - 19,209
  6. VW Golf - 19,036
  7. BMW 1 Series - 17,587
  8. MG HS - 16,730
  9. Hyundai Tucson - 16,182
  10. VW T-Roc - 15,667

The coming months will be crucial in determining whether the market can maintain its momentum and continue to rebound from the challenges of recent years. For now, the milestone of reaching over a million new car registrations is a notable achievement, signalling a cautiously optimistic outlook for the UK's automotive sector.