The Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) reported that the UK new car market witnessed its first substantial growth since August 2020. A 28.7% gain in the fleet segment pushed the overall sales 11.5% up from last year’s level of 254,684 to 283,964 in March. The retail market remained depressed, declining by 4.1% on an annualised basis from 132,256 to 126,850 as showrooms were closed for a month. Vauxhall Corsa (7,927), Ford Fiesta (7,406), Mercedes-Benz A-Class (7,012), Tesla Model 3 (6,585) and Nissan Qashqai (6,583) were the top five best-selling car brands last month.
In Q1 2021, the UK registered 58,032 fewer cars than in the same period of the previous year, which is equal to a loss of £1.8 billion in turnover during the first quarter. According to the year-to-date data, total sales dropped by 12% from 483,557 recorded in Q1 2020 to 425,525. The SMMT believes that after showrooms reopening in less than a week, consumer confidence and the market, in particular, will recover.