• BMW up more than 40% January to April
  • BEV grows to 16.9% year-on-year
  • Good performance from Nissan, but what’s happened to Ford and Toyota?

BMW is simply storming ahead as fleet and business sales continue to propel the new car market.

Having recently released a host of new electric models, BMW has witnessed growth that’s head and shoulders above any other brand this year. 

The German marque has sold more than 13,000 more cars in the first four months of this year than last. In percentage terms it’s up more than 40%.

The next nearest brand for unit growth is Nissan which is up more than 8,000 cars year-to-date.

Like BMW – but perhaps not in such quantities – those brands with appealing and new ranges of electric cars have seen the largest gains, according to the latest official figures.

However, for those brands without new product or limited ranges of BEVs the opposite is true.

Polestar, which is on the verge of launching new models, is currently down nearly 3,000 units on 2023, while fellow pure-EV brand Tesla is down more than 2,000 cars this year.

Ford and Toyota on the skids

Ford and Toyota, neither of which has an extensive BEV range yet, are having a shocking year so far. Ford is down nearly 6,000 units year-to-date, while Toyota is down just more than 5,000 units.

Looking at the April figures Vauxhall recorded the largest unit fall, down nearly 3,500 cars on the same month in 2023. Fellow Stellantis brand Peugeot was also one of the fastest April fallers, down 1,235 cars. However, Peugeot is still having a good year overall.

Top 5 performers YTD by unit increase

1 BMW +13,277

2 Nissan +8,346

3 Renault +8,051

4 Mercedes +6,314

5 Peugeot +5,051

Bottom 5 performers YTD by unit decrease

5 Mazda -1,938

4 Tesla -2,048

3 Polestar -2,937

2 Toyota -5,064

1 Ford -5,995

Market powered by fleet

The total market was up 1.0% in April with registrations up 8.4%  year-to-date. However, these increases have been powered entirely by the fleet market which was up 18.5% in April and is up 26.7% for the year. These figures are set against a retail market that’s down 11% year-to-date in 2024 and now only accounts for 37.9% of the total. A year ago private sales accounted for more than 46% of new car registrations.

The latest figures have resulted in the SMMT revising up its forecast for the year-end total to an overall market just shy of the 2 million mark at 1.98m and the electric car market share revised down to 19.8%.

SMMT Stats Light Apr

Driven by business, April saw a return to growth for sales of electric vehicles both for the total number and the market share. Battery electric vehicles took 16.9% of the new car market last month, up from 15.4% a year ago.

For the year-to-date, overall electric car numbers are up 10.6% and now account for 15.7% of the market. This time last year that figure was 15.4%.

Plug-in hybrids enjoyed an even stronger month than pure electrics, with a rise of 22.1% for the month taking the year-to-date share to 7.8%, up from 6.4% a year ago.

Interestingly, while EV and PHEV market shares continue to rise, petrol car registration share is almost static at fractionally below 70%. Diesel mix continues to fall and is now at 6.8% of the market for the first four months of 2024.

April Sales 2024 and YTD cars

Source: SMMT

Read our new car market analysis of March 2024 registrations

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