The most registered car in the UK in April was actually a pickup truck.
Mercedes-Benz sold 814 versions of its Sprinter utility vehicle last month, surpassing all passenger cars on the market.
The Tesla Model 3 was the top-selling new car in the UK with 658 registrations, but Elon Musk’s victory came in exceptional circumstances with a market down 97%.
Freezing of UK pre-orders for the electric car continued to arrive and boost registration figures, even though car dealers across the country were frozen.
The best-selling engine in April is a NPV: Mercedes-Benz Sprinter sold all the cars on the market last year when the dealers were blocked due to the coronavirus
The best-selling new engine in April was the Mercedes Sprinter. The list on the left shows the van registrations in April, while the ranking on the right concerns passenger cars, the Sprinters marginally selling the Tesla Model 3
Official figures released by the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders this morning confirmed a 97.3% drop in new car sales last month with only 4,321 passenger cars registered – with showrooms closed during the pandemic of coronavirus.
A backlog of in-demand electric cars – including the Tesla, the £ 64,000 Jaguar I-Pace and Nissan’s Leaf – saw recordings of battery models dominate in April, while Ford – usually the top-selling brand in Great Britain – moved only 306 cars.
Among the other best-selling and least-selling cars was a motley team of engines, including a pair of Vauxhalls, the Corsa and the Crossland X, family hatches in the Seat Leon, Mercedes A-Class, and Peugeot. 308, and the Ford Tourneo Custom and Peugeot Rifter, which are popular mobility options.
However, all were registered in fewer numbers than the Mercedes Sprinter, which surpassed light utility vehicle sales figures for April.
And this despite the shrinking UK market for new vans at a pace similar to that of cars in April, with registrations of commercial vehicles down 86.2% last month.
To put this in context, just over 5,000 Sprinter were registered in the first four months of 2020. This compares to almost 16,000 Ford Fiestas – the most popular passenger car – sold so far this year.
SMMT has confirmed that April 2020 is now the lowest record month for the new car market, with reports claiming it to be the lowest volume of engine sales since 1946.
The numbers are not surprising given that the showrooms were locked and car buyers were confined to the house for most of the month.
Some 156,743 fewer cars were registered compared to April 2019, many of which were delivered to key workers and to public services and front-line businesses.
However, the list of top 10 sellers suggests that the record numbers have been inflated by the blocking of UK pre-orders for electric cars and mobility vehicles.
Tesla’s sales chart surpassed for the first time in UK history, with 3 models – priced at £ 40,490 – registered with 658 owners in April, nearly a total listing out of seven last month.
Thousands of British drivers named the American firm’s most affordable electric model after opening order books in March 2016, though production delays and delivery delays mean that the blocking of pre- orders placed in the past four years still arrive today. ,
Tesla switched to contactless transfer to the customer’s home or delivery centers when the United Kingdom locked out, while many other manufacturers had to suspend operations in the United Kingdom.
All supporting documents for the purchase of the vehicle are pre-organized through the customer’s online Tesla account, which means there is no need to sign contracts with vendors.
On the day of delivery of the car, the vehicle is left in a safe place with organized access via the Tesla smartphone app.
Some 814 Mercedes-Benz Sprinters were registered last month – 156 more than the best-selling passenger car, the Tesla Model 3
Tesla tops the charts: During the lowest month in the UK, Tesla Model 3 became the most recorded passenger car in the country for the first time
This SMMT chart illustrates the magnitude of the impact on car registrations in the UK last month, showrooms being closed to the public and dealers uncertain whether they were allowed to sell or deliver vehicles to customers during lockout.
The same can be said for the other cars listed in the top 10 best sellers of the month.
This includes the Jaguar I-Pace SUV, which was the second most recorded car in April – around 367 units.
Like Tesla, Jaguar also has an accumulation of orders to execute on the premium plug-in family car.
This was not helped by a temporary production disruption at the Graz plant in Austria caused by a shortage of lithium-ion batteries to power vehicles – which only added to the growing demand for SUV.
Nissan’s Leaf Electric, costing just under £ 30,000 in the UK, was also ranked as a top 10 best seller for the first time, ninth with 72 copies registered – showing the extent of the drop in sales on last month.
Customers have been able to place pre-orders for the Tesla Model 3 since March 2016, although deliveries to the UK only started arriving in June of last year (photo here)
Thousands of British motorists have ordered one of Tesla’s most affordable cars, although these are still drip-fed in the country, which is why the Model 3 has surpassed popularity charts. in April (photo from June 2019)
Analysis of brand registrations shows that Ford only sold 306 passenger cars last month. This compares to 18,074 in April 2019.
This illustrates the record of the British car market, one in ten new cars bought in the United Kingdom being Fords and the Fiesta being the best-selling model for 11 years.
The most bought Ford last month was the Tourneo Custom – a minivan that is generally converted to a mobility vehicle with the rear seats removed to make room for wheelchair access.
Some 108 of them were registered in April (the fifth most registered model) with 94 Peugeot Rifters, which is also a popular model in the motor system.
The overall decline in car registrations of almost 100% in April reflected similar declines in Europe, the new vehicle market in France having fallen by 89% and the Italian sector by 98%.
These April figures show that the blocking of orders for electric cars means that sales of BEV have not fallen at the same significant rate as other types of fuel.
The Jaguar I-Pace was the second most registered car in the UK last month, as the British brand also delivered orders well before April.
Production of the I-Pace in Graz, Austria also had to be temporarily halted in February because Jaguar had supply issues with the lithium-ion batteries used to power electric cars.
Fleet orders accounted for by far the bulk of registrations, occupying 71.5% of the market, while private buyers registered only 871 cars – an annual decline of 99%.
The distortion was reflected in all segments and all types of fuel, with the number of new petrol and diesel cars joining UK roads falling by 99% and 98% respectively, as Plug-in Hybrid Vehicles (PHEV) fell by 95 % and traditional hybrids. (HEV) down 99%.
Meanwhile, the performance of the Tesla Model 3 and the Jaguar I-Pace saw the battery electric vehicle sector still only niche by 10%.
In response to the coronavirus shutdown, the SMMT lowered its forecast for new car sales to just 1.68 million registrations in 2020 – the lowest figure in three decades.
This puts the industry on track to record its worst performance since 1.59 million registrations in 1992 – a drop of more than a quarter from a year earlier.
Commenting on April figures, Mike Hawes, CEO of SMMT, said “the market’s worst performance in living memory” was “hardly surprising.”
“These figures, however, still make an exceptionally grim reading, especially for the hundreds of thousands of people whose livelihoods depend on the sector,” he added.
A strong new car market supports a healthy economy, and as Britain begins to plan for recovery, we need to keep car retail at the forefront.
“Safely restarting this most critical sector and revitalizing what will inevitably be moderate demand will be the key to unlocking manufacturing and accelerating UK economic regeneration.”
British car dealerships have been closed since March 23, when the lockout was announced. Although the government has given them the green light to sell vehicles online and has stated that they can deliver them to customers if they follow social distancing rules
You can buy a locked car – but all purchases will have to be made online
Recent developments for car dealers now allow them to operate and sell vehicles online, as well as deliver them in accordance with social distancing guidelines.
At the end of April, the Department of Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy confirmed the news, with a spokesperson saying: “We have asked non-essential stores like car dealerships and showrooms in England to shut down, unless they provide urgent car repairs and other necessary services.
“They are all able to continue selling cars remotely and delivering cars, as long as they follow our clear Public Health England guidelines to protect employees who cannot work from home and their customers.”
The statement gives car dealerships the green light to restart the business without fear of fines or police action, and means that drivers can get their hands on new engines while the lockout is in place.
British automakers have also announced plans to resume production this month, with Rolls-Royce reopening the Goodwood factory on Monday and Aston Martin resuming production of the DBX crossover in St Athan on Tuesday.
Jaguar Land Rover, the UK’s largest automaker, said it would gradually restart manufacturing from April 18, while big brands such as Volkswagen and Mercedes-Benz have already restarted assembly lines for new engines. through Europe.
However, with the financial impact of many people on cutting work hours and wages – and millions placed on the government’s support leave plan – appetite for new vehicles is unlikely to rebound immediately.
David Leggett, an automotive analyst at GlobalData, said: “Although the UK new car market has been hit hard by the Covid-19 crisis and demand will clearly take time to move closer to normal, more sales are expected to materialize in the near future. government has eased lockdown restrictions and reopened the economy.
Other industry commentators had more positive perspectives.
Michael Woodward, UK auto manager at Deloitte, said: “Although UK lockout restrictions have not yet been relaxed, they could trigger a recovery in sales.
“The first signs from China suggest that some consumers have purchased low-priced used vehicles or new entry-level cars to reduce the use of public transportation.
“The recovery in China has probably been helped by the fact that more car purchases are being made online. As restrictions in the UK are lifted, some consumers may prefer to buy online, which accelerates the need for resellers and manufacturers to digitize their interactions. “
Title of automobile consumer What Car? said it surveyed website visitors throughout the crisis, with data suggesting that about one in five are ready to buy a car after the lock is released.
However, he warns that this results, in many cases, from the end of financing contracts and the need to renew rental contracts.
The magazine warned last week that buyers who expect big discounts on new cars after the lockdown is reduced should act quickly, as pent-up demand will see existing engine supply swallowed up and – because of the reduction of manufacturing production – a decrease in the availability of vehicles arriving from factories.
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