Demand for electrified vehicles helped the new car market get off to a bright start in 2022, with 115,087 registrations recorded during the month of January.
Monthly data released by the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) shows that figure was up by more than a quarter (27.5%) on the same period last year.
Of the total number of new cars sold, one in five of those were either partially or fully electric in a further sign that an increasing number of motorists are switching over to lower- and zero-emission nameplates.
4,161 new cars were registered in Northern Ireland up to period ending January 31 – a 79% surge on January 2021 – with the Volkswagen T-Roc crossover pipping the Ford Focus hatchback to top spot, 110 to 97.
Kia’s Sportage, which is set to be replaced in the coming days, was the third most popular vehicle (93) followed by the Hyundai Tucson and Volkswagen Golf which were tied in fourth on 91 apiece.
However, the UK market as a whole remains well below pre-pandemic levels, 22.9% lower than in January 2020 in fact, as chip shortages continue to impact supply.
Despite this, the popularity of electrified vehicles continues to help, with battery electric (BEV), plug-in hybrid (PHEV) and hybrid (HEV) cars accounting for 71.5% of the uplift in registrations last month.
Plug-in vehicles enjoyed another bumper period, with 14,433 BEVs and 9,047 PHEVs sold – the equivalent to one fifth of the total market. Combined with 13,492 HEV registrations, it means that almost one in three new cars that joined the busy road network in January was electrified.
This craze looks set to continue in the year ahead as forecasts predict registrations of BEVs and PHEVs will grow by 61% and 42% respectively meaning that by the end of the year, almost one in four new cars will have zero-emission capability.
Mike Hawes, SMMT Chief Executive, said: “Given the lockdown-impacted January 2021, this month’s figures were always going to be an improvement but it is still reassuring to see a strengthening market.
“Once again, it is electrified vehicles that are driving the growth, despite the ongoing headwinds of chip shortages, rising inflation and the cost-of-living squeeze.
“2022 is off to a reasonable start, however, and with around 50 new electrified models due for release this year, customers will have an ever-greater choice, which can only be good for our shared environmental ambitions.”