ELECTRIC vehicles took a drop in demand following the government change to the Plug-in Car Grant on 18 March 2021.

But the change in EV orders – down by 24% – was described as ‘soft’ by Fleet Procure, the broker fleet procurement platform.

Utilising the intelligence of its 61 broker database, Fleet Procure said that VW ID.4 sales were ‘fantastic’ pre-grant but after a one-week lull post-announcement, had picked up pace again to be the best-selling EV in March.

While a near quarter drop in EV orders sounds poor, it’s much, much less than I was expecting. I’d describe it as a ‘soft’ drop, while orders are beginning to track upwards once more. As you might expect, business contract hire is taking the lead, with businesses prepared to swallow the increased rental to make the most of BIK and running cost savings.

Lee Jones, managing director, Fleet Procure

EV delivery times start to slip

However, the surge towards a lower carbon future could have the zip taken out of it by lack of product availability and “there are question marks over whether OEMs might push EV volume into European markets where grants are more favourable”.

Jones added that in many cases dealers on the platform were quoting Q4 delivery slots with delivery “the next big issue”, despite car makers dropping prices below the £35,000 grant level.

“Not all car makers have reacted and I suspect some OEMs are looking at the market and current run rates to assess what pricing alignments might be necessary.”

Jones added:

I can see PHEV sales start to skyrocket, not only fuelled by the waiting times for EVs, but also by consumer demand where affordability is a key issue, and where there may still be some misgivings about electric range. It’s also worth noting that despite the current buzz surrounding electrification, diesels continue to do well, helped by some strong offers supported by Hitachi Capital Vehicle Solutions and ALD Automotive.

Volkswagen is top brand Q1; LeasePlan top funder

With strong demand for the electric ID.4 SUV and funder-led commitment deals on the Tiguan, Volkswagen was the most popular brand ordered by brokers through the Fleet Procure cloud-based platform.

However, PHEV demand for Range Rover Sport and Evoque, along with diesel Land Rover Discovery Sport, placed Land Rover second during Q1, ahead of Mercedes-Benz in third.

LeasePlan was the top funder used by brokers during Q1, followed by Lex Autolease and Alphabet.

Fleet Procure transacts over 20,000 vehicles yearly through its broker/dealer online platform.

Top 6 car brands by volume Q1

1. Volkswagen

2. Land Rover

3. Mercedes-Benz

4. Audi

5. Skoda

6. BMW

Top 6 car models by volume Q1

1. VW Tiguan 1.5 TSI 150 R Line DSG

2. VW ID.4 1st Edition Pro

3. Range Rover Sport P400e HSE Dynamic

4. VW T-Roc 1.5 TSI Black Edition DSG

5. Kia E-Niro 150kw 4+ 64kWh

6. Nissan Qashqai 1.3 DIG-T N-Connecta 140PS

Source: Fleet Procure

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