Vehicle ownership in the UK surpasses 40 million

Vehicle ownership in the UK surpasses 40 million

New data reveals record 40.4 million cars, vans, trucks and buses now registered for use in Britain. Van ownership up 2.7% to 4.5 million as UK sees highest number of HGVs in action for 30 years – vehicles now working to keep essential supply chains, emergency services and key workers moving. CO2 emissions from UK’s cars fall to lowest on record, despite parc surpassing 35 million as new technology replaces old and more Brits than ever plug-in to ultra-low emission motoring.

Light commercial vehicles saw the biggest percentage growth, rising 2.7% on the previous year to 4,527,724 units, surging by 28% in the last decade2. Passenger cars, meanwhile, increased 0.8% to 35,168,259 over the same period, as the number of heavy goods vehicles grew by 0.4% to 607,998 – the largest number delivering for Britain since 1990.

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The data also reveals that the UK’s 40 million-strong fleet now includes more than three quarters of a million low, ultra-low and zero emission cars. The number of these cars grew by 26% last year, with 532,603 hybrids, 144,335 plug-in hybrids and 92,913 battery electric vehicles now in use, although this segment still makes up just 2.2% of the overall car parc. Meanwhile the number of diesel cars in use fell marginally by -0.9% to 13,723,299, accounting for 39% of the parc, while petrol cars grew by 1.2% to 20,657,838.


Mike Hawes, SMMT Chief Executive, said,

As the UK continues to battle the coronavirus pandemic, keeping food, medical supplies and the people serving on the front line moving has never been so important – and these figures show the essential role Britain’s vehicle fleet plays for society. They also provide evidence that industry’s ongoing investment into ever cleaner, safer and more reliable vehicle technology is paying off, even as demand for mobility grows. To ensure this trend continues, we must get the right support for businesses and their workers in place now so that when this crisis is over, the sector can help get the whole country and our economy back on the move.


The Motorparc data also reveals black as the most commonly seen car colour on the UK’s roads, with more than a fifth clad in the paint. Silver (18%) and blue (17%) are second and third choice respectively for motorists across the country and, while white (13%) takes just fifth place overall, it is the most popular colour for battery electric and hybrid plug-in cars.


Across the country, all regions have seen an increase in ownership, the highest spike in drivers being in the South West of the country, up 1.94%. Conversely, Greater London and the West Midlands were the only two regions that experienced a decline in car ownership, down -0.31% and -0.71% respectively, with 9,131 and 24,642 fewer cars on the roads across the nation’s capital and the Black Country respectively.


Greater London is the municipality with the highest number of battery electric and plug-in hybrid cars (26,513), followed closely by Birmingham (24,431) and Peterborough (12,493).


Source / More information : Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders

Greater London is the municipality with the highest number of battery electric and plug-in hybrid cars (26,513) in UK

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