UK Car Market Shrinks To 1970-Level But Plug-Ins Continue To Rise

Kia Niro EV (e-Niro) was the best selling all-electric model in the opening month of 2021. The plug-in segment is expanding.

Passenger car sales in the UK are now quite depressing, as the number of new registrations fell past month by 39.5% year-over-year to 90,249, which is the lowest level for a January since 1970.

COVID-related restrictions and economic slowdown are probably the two major reasons for the outcome, although the booming plug-in segment is expanding even in these challenging times.

In total, some 12,384 new plug-in cars were registered, which is 40% more than a year ago and 13.7% of the total volume. There are now about 40 BEV models, compared to just 22 in January 2019.

Plug-in electric car registrations in the UK – January 2021

  • BEVs: 6,260 (up 54.4% year-over-year) at market share of 6.9%
  • PHEVs: 6,124 (up 28.0% year-over-year) at market share of 6.8%
  • Total: 12,384 (up 40.1% year-over-year) at market share of 13.7%

2021 is expected to be another strong year for plug-ins, probably noticeably above the record of 175,082 in 2020.

More details, including also other types:

Top models

The brief report does not include details about BEV/PHEV models, but we found that the top-selling BEV model was the Kia Niro EV (e-Niro) with 985 registrations.

Kia revealed 64 registrations of the Kia Soul EV (e-Soul), which means that BEVs (1,049 total) stand for 16.7% of the total volume (6,271). Assuming that plug-in hybrids add at least several more percent, we guess that the South Korean brand is quite happy with the outcome.

There is no sign of the Tesla Model 3 or Volkswagen ID.3 in the top this time (#1 and #4 in December).


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