Auto Trader — New EV demand at 3-year low in United Kingdom

(February 6, 2023) LONDON — “Six consecutive months of year-on-year sales growth is a reassuring sign for the industry and highlights that despite the current political and economic turbulence, the new car market is running counter cyclical to the wider economy," said Ian Plummer, commercial director at Auto Trader in the UK, said about December sales performance in the UK.

“However, the dip in electric car sales reveals that December’s record performance — when one in three new cars sold in the UK was electric — was artificially inflated due to Tesla’s huge quarterly vehicle delivery and the impact of annual manufacturer emissions targets rather than reflecting genuine consumer appetite at that level."

According to Plummer, “On our marketplace, demand for new electric vehicles (EVs) is at a three-year low. In the summer of last year, EVs accounted for nearly 30% of all new car enquiries being sent to retailers. By November, as electricity prices began to rocket, it had fallen to fewer than one in five, and today its fewer than one in 10 as energy prices have risen and some negative commentary have dampened demand.

“In the absence of government support, manufacturers will likely be forced to move on pricing to stimulate consumer demand, which we’re already beginning to see with the likes of Tesla announcing significant price reductions on key models. And it’s working.

"Following Tesla’s news, we saw an immediate 113% spike in Model 3 page views on our marketplace. As the race to EV dominance accelerates, I have no doubt we’ll see other brands follow suit, albeit probably with customer offers rather than list price cuts. While the industry won’t welcome the pricing and profitability challenge, if EVs are to achieve mass market success, they’ll need to bridge the current price gap of around 35% between similar EVs and their gas or diesel equivalents. And hopefully, by building that scale, the economies generated can sustain the industry’s journey on the “Road to 2030”

About Auto Trader

Auto Trader Group is the UK's largest automotive marketplace. Auto Trader listed on the London Stock Exchange in March 2015 and is now a member of the FTSE 100 Index.

The marketplace is where UK consumers buy and sell cars with the largest number of car buyers and the largest choice of trusted stock. Auto Trader exists to Drive Change Together. Responsibly and creating a diverse and inclusive culture is at the heart of the business. It is focused on changing how the UK shops for cars by providing the best online car buying experience and enabling all retailers to sell online.

It aims to build stronger partnerships with its customers and use its voice and influence to drive more environmentally friendly vehicle choices.