UK new car car sales plunged 44pc in March as coronavirus drove away motorists and shut down the industry.
Just 255,000 vehicles were sold in the UK last month, according to the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders – down from 458,000 a year earlier.
Dealers had reported social distancing measures making it hard to sell cars even before the lockdown began on March 23, sending the economy into freefall and causing consumers to rethink major outlays.
Also consumers are still scared of diesels with sales down 62% Y on Y.
The only bright spot in the SMMT list is the pure electric and plug in hybrids with sales increase on 200% and 40% respectively. Together these segments shifted 18,500 units in the month.
Pure-EVs reached their highest ever total, with almost 11,700 registered during the month. The previous record was a little over 7,700, in September 2019.
Plug in Hybrid EVs also set a new record for units registered, though somewhat closer than EV figures. March 2020 saw just over 6,800 sold, whilst the previous record in March 2018 was almost 6,400.
As might be expected with such a large increase on EV units registered, market share for pure-electric models hit a new record too. March 2020’s figure saw 7.3% of all new models registered as plug-in models, and pure-electric market share was 4.6%. Put into perspective, the previous records were 6.3% (Dec 19) and 3.4% (Aug 19) respectively.
March is normally the biggest month for sales as buyers are attracted by the launch of a new registration plate number. Without the plate change the decline would have been even steeper, as many consumers agree deals further in advance than normal. The SMMT data shows it was the worst March in more than 20 years for registrations of new cars, a proxy for sales.
These large increases over February 2020 are expected to a degree, since March is a new-registration month, and the month prior to a new plate being launched is traditionally quiet as buyers wait. However, March 2020 has been stronger than many would have predicted.
Tesla 3 tops best sellers at #9
Although unclear, March looks as though an EV has made the top 10 monthly sales charts, for only the second time. Listed ninth, under ‘Other’ a little over 4,700 units were registered. This is likely to be Tesla’s Model 3, since the manufacturer is not currently a member of the SMMT.
Data from SMMT, Zap Map and Green Car
Nissan sales in Europe are hurting with revenue down 25% in 2019. In the first 10 months of the year Nissan sold 334,500 cars in the EU.
To flip the chart back into growth Nissan plan to replace every model in its SUV range in Europe within the next 18 months and launch new models.
The electric SUV previewed by the Ariya concept at the Tokyo auto show in November should arrive late 2020 or early 2021.
The car uses a platform shared with partner Renault and will sit at the premium end of the SUV market.
Nissan relies on SUVs such the compact Qashqai, small Juke and midsize X-trail for most of its volume in Europe but the aging range has contributed to falling demand for the brand that is mianly Diesel powered.
Nissan started the European rollout of its latest generation Juke last month. The SUV replaces the model first unveiled in 2010. It is underpinned by the same platform used by alliance partner Renault for the Clio small car and Captur small SUV. Nissan is dropping the Juke’s diesel engine due to falling demand for the powertrain.
Nissan will unveil the new Qashqai in September, 2020. The Qashqai is Nissan’s best-seller in Europe, with 183,896 sold in the first 10 months, down 11 % for the year. Nissan will drop diesel versions of the next Qashqai and introduce its E-power hybrid technology that has been a big success for the brand in Japan.
Both the X-trail and Qashqai are expected to be offered with alliance partner Mitsubishi’s plug-in hybrid system used in the Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV. Nissan took a controlling stake in Mitsubishi in 2017 when then CEO Carlos Ghosn managed the group with a strategic view.
In 2018, the Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV was the best-selling plug-in hybrid vehicle in Europe across all segments for the fourth consecutive year.
This year it’s being challenged by the new BMW 330e Plug In.
The four new models mean Nissan would have one of the youngest passenger car lineups of any brand in Europe. The company replaced the Micra small car in 2017 and Leaf EV in 2018.
In Japan, Nissan announced today that it will push a package of tech improvements to the Leaf.
None of the Leaf’s tech improvements are ground-shaking. The navigation system will allow drivers to set a destination and see all available electric-car charging stations along the way. Driver-assist features will now include blind-spot detection and faster automated parking. The Leaf’s enhanced mobile-app connectivity feature will improve status updates like vehicle location and allow remotely locking/unlocking the car. And it will allow you to see vehicle speed and location when somebody else is driving your Leaf.
The Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV remained the UK’s best-selling plug-in hybrid vehicle with one in every four plug-in hybrid vehicles registered in August being a Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV.
Calendar year to date, sales of the Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV total 4,428 units, which is broadly in line with last year with 4,521 units registered. This sales performance has been achieved in spite of the stupid withdrawal of the plug-in car grant in November 2018. – Note to Government, Plug-In are a real benefit in driving down fuel usage, increasing MPG and reducing CO2 emissions. Note to Sajid Javid please reinstate the Plug- In grant and increase the EV grant in the next budget.
The Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV continues to dominate the market with a commanding 25% share of the Plug-in hybrid vehicle sector with sales more than double than that of its nearest rival.
Rob Lindley, Managing Director, Mitsubishi Motors in the UK said,
The Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV has cemented its position as the nation’s favourite plug-in vehicle, one it has held consistently since the vehicles initial launch back in 2014.
“Our customers continue to enjoy the real-world benefits of plug-in technology, with the flexibility of a full-size family SUV and no compromises in term of boot or passenger space.”
The 2020 Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV is priced from £35,455 (OTR) and until September 26th customers can get an additional £2,000 trade-in allowance when they trade in their current car for a new Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV at their local, participating Mitsubishi dealership.
More about the Outlander PHEV
With 45,000 registered in the UK since 2014, the Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV is the UK’s most popular plug-in vehicle.
Revised in 2019, it now has a real-world EV range of 28 miles and achieves 134mpg (WLTP).
A recent survey of Outlander PHEV customers reveals that half their average weekly mileage is driven in electric mode, with 68% charging at least once per day and 90% charging several times per week. 83% would recommend an Outlander PHEV to family and friends and 25% say they are considering a pure electric vehicle for the next vehicle, making it a true gateway vehicle towards an all-EV future and an important step on the road to zero.
An Outlander PHEV with a Type 1 charge port can be charged for any standard 13 AMP socket overnight or in a few hours at a Type 2 charge point and a Type 2 – Type 1 charging cable.
Love Range Rovers but don’t like the regular filling station visits then take a look at the new P400e.
The brief for the updated 2018 Range Rover was a simple one: Don’t change it, just improve it. And on paper, at least, Land Rover has done just that.
This new P400e version is the first ever plug-in hybrid Range Rover, mixing one of JLR’s new 296bhp Ingenium 2.0-litre four-cylinder petrol engines, along with the power from a 114bhp electric motor. This is fed by a 13.1 kWh battery pack under the boot floor, giving a pure electric range of 31 miles. Land Rover claims 101mpg combined and CO2 emissions of 64g/km, while charging from a 32amp wall box takes a little under three hours.
By 2024, Land Rover will have a whole new lineup of hybrid and electric luxury SUVs.
As we learned yesterday (report to follow), that lineup will include plug-in hybrid and electric versions of its small Evoque crossover SUV.
In the P400e the electric motor, sandwiched between the engine and the 8-speed transmission produces 114 hp, for a system total of 398 hp and 472 foot-pounds of torque. A mechanical full-time four-wheel-drive system gives the Range Rover its legendary off-road capability.
The company cites a 0-60 time of 6.4 seconds.
If drivers enter a destination into the navigation system, the P400e can optimize the hybrid system for maximum efficiency on hills and in traffic to get the most out of its electric charge. If the driver selects Sport mode in the transmission, however, it overrides this Predictive Energy Optimization program.
Land Rover also notes that the P400e plug-in hybrid does not compromise the Range Rover’s 35.4-inch fording depth. The company recommends that drivers leave the P400e in Save mode to keep the engine running while fording floods to keep water from entering the exhaust.
UK prices start at £87,600 for the standard Range Rover and £72,185 for the Sport version.
Range Rovers support a Type 2 charging connection.
Hot on the bumper of Porsche’s electrification news comes the announcement of the death of the Porsche Diesel engine.
The latest Cayenne version of the high selling SUV is a petrol only vehicle. The original 2009 Cayenne offered a diesel and was a reasonable seller.
In a move that a Porsche spokesman said mirrors the “cultural shift” of the brand’s customers, the German manufacturer has discontinued its last two diesel models, the Macan S Diesel and Panamera 4S Diesel leaving a petrol and hybrid line up.
In an official statement, Porsche said that the Macan S Diesel has been “taken out of the production programme” as buyer demand moves towards petrol and hybrid versions.
The brand revealed that the diesel’s removal was also linked to “another software update” that has been subject to an “ongoing consultation with the authorities”. While not directly confirming it, this suggests that like with BMW and its F80 M3, Porsche has decided against re-engineering the Macan S Diesel to conform to the new Worldwide Harmonised Light Vehicles Test Procedure (WLTP) standards. Such a move highlights the shrinking demand for the model, which a Porsche UK spokesman said represented a small portion of the SUV’s 97,000 global sales from 2017.
The same justification was given for the demise of the Panamera 4S Diesel, which was removed from Porsche’s ranks during the luxury car’s range update at the start of the year.
Porsche said the change was linked to falling demand for the variant, which accounted for 15% of the Panamera’s 11,000 global sales in 2017. Petrol versions accounted for 35%, while the Panamera 4 E-Hybrid accounted for an astounding 50%.
The results of this electric focus will produce the Mission E next year, while a hybrid version of the 992-generation 911 is also due in 2019.
The new Hyundai IONIQ Plug-in Hybrid goes on sale this month, priced from £25,000, including the £2500 Plug In Car Grant. The Plug in joins the all Electric Version and the petrol model.
The Plug-in Hybrid is the third and final variant of the IONIQ line-up – the first car in the world to offer three electrified powertrains within one body type.
IONIQ Plug-in Hybrid offers up to 39 miles of pure electric driving with a total range of 680 miles. It combines a 105 PS 1.6-litre Atkinson cycle petrol engine and a 61 PS high-efficiency electric motor, driven through a six-speed dual-clutch transmission. The combined system output is 141 PS. Ultra-low CO2 emissions of just 26g/km means it attracts zero-rate VED in the first year and offers a low BIK rate of just 9% for 2017/18.
The new model is available in Premium and Premium SE specification. The former offers a high level of standard equipment, including: 16” alloy wheels, Bluetooth, Apple Car Play and Android Auto, Smart Cruise Control and an 8-inch integrated satellite navigation unit. Unique to the IONIQ Plug-in Hybrid variant, the navigation system features state-of-the-art ECO-DAS technology. ECO-DAS has predictive energy management that optimises the battery charge and discharge, as well as a coasting guide for the driver, instructing them when to lift off the throttle to use less fuel.
Further highlights of Premium specification include: heated front seats and steering wheel, LED headlights and rear combination lamps, wireless smart phone charging, and a Rear Parking Assist System with Rear View Camera. Standard safety features include Autonomous Emergency Braking (AEB), Lane Keep Assist System (LKAS) and individual Tyre Pressure Monitoring System (TPMS).
For drivers seeking even greater comfort and convenience, IONIQ Plug-in Hybrid Premium SE trim starts from £26,795 including grant. The step up adds leather seat facings, front seat ventilation, rear seat heating and an electrically adjustable driver’s seat with memory function. Premium SE also includes alloy pedals, rain-sensing wipers, Blind Spot Detection and Front Park Assist.
The IONIQ Plug-in Hybrid is available in Polar White as standard, or with a choice of six metallic colours; Phantom Black, Platinum Silver, Iron Grey, Demitasse Brown, Marina Blue and Phoenix Orange. The lava stone interior trim features blue accents throughout the cabin and control surfaces.
Hyundai Motor UK previously named POD Point as its preferred charging partner, and a 7kW wall box can be supplied and installed at the customer’s home for £300, which includes standard installation. The Plug-In Hybrid is available as standard with the Type 2 connector and an ICCB Charging Cable which allows the car to be plugged in to a domestic three-pin outlet when no dedicated charging points are available.
IONIQ Plug-in Hybrid will be available from a dedicated Hyundai network of 70 dealers from 13 July. All IONIQ models come with Hyundai’s industry-leading 5 Year Unlimited Mileage Warranty package, with the additional high voltage battery cover of 8 years / 125,000 miles.
“This is an exciting addition to our electrified line-up,” comments Tony Whitehorn, President and CEO Hyundai Motor UK. “With up to 39 miles of electric-only power there is more than sufficient range for zero-emission daily commutes, as well as the reassurance of longer range from the hybrid powertrain when needed. We anticipate keen interest from private buyers and fleet users alike, given the Plug-in Hybrid’s great value pricing and low tax rates.
“With CO2 emissions of just 26g/km, IONIQ Plug-in Hybrid is another milestone in extending the company’s product range of low-to-zero emission vehicles, which is central to our sustainability strategy,” he concludes.
We look forward to driving a sample. Should be with dealers from July 13th.
Learn more hyundai.co.uk/new-cars/ioniq/electric
Strong demand for the Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV has seen Mitsubishi UK notch up two consecutive months of record sales of pre-owned internal fleet vehicles.
Of the 717 pre-owned vehicles that Mitsubishi dealers have bought directly from the manufacturer’s UK division since the start of the year, nearly 45 per cent were the Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV, highlighting the unwavering popularity of the UK’s best-selling Plug-in Hybrid Electric vehicle.
Such is the demand for pre-owned examples of the versatile all-wheel drive SUV, that 2017 YTD sales figures of used internal fleet vehicles represent an increase of over 43 per cent compared to the same period in 2016.
In addition to more and more motorists appreciating the significant benefits of plug-in hybrid electric vehicles, the sales growth has been driven by Mitsubishi Motors in the UK’s focus on making its pre-owned vehicles even more appealing to retail customers, as well as the continued expansion of its dealer network.
Mitsubishi has recently introduced an enhanced, industry-leading Approved Used Programme and a strong 5.9% APR PCP offer that allows drivers to own a pre-owned 2016 Outlander PHEV GX4H for £299 per month, plus deposit and final payment.
The Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV offers the best pure EV range of any of its direct competitors, has the lowest emissions of any all-wheel drive vehicle and remains amongst the lowest-emitting vehicles in the plug-in hybrid segment. It is also the only AWD vehicle to utilise electric power to drive both front and rear wheels for superior traction both on and off the road even in pure electric mode. It is also the only Plug-in Hybrid Electric Vehicle to offer rapid charging (up to 80% in approximately 25 minutes) and five-mode adjustable regenerative braking, which is controlled via the steering wheel paddles to further enhance the driving experience.
The best-selling BMW 3 series is getting a make over with slight changes to the body and the powertrain lineup. The cabin is getting a major boost with extra chrome highlights, a redesigned center console and improved materials on touchpoints around the cabin. There’s also an upgrade to the navigation system, which boots up and finds routes faster, as well as offering improved 3D graphics.Externally, the updates are fairly subtle. Full LED headlamps are now an option, and the graphics of the taillights have been revised to make the car seem wider on the road. The front apron has also received a rework to include the sensor for BMW’s active cruise control system.
The big news from an EV front is that from 2016, the 3 Series range will also include the 330e plug-in hybrid, designed to rival the Mercedes hybrid option offers on the C-Class. According to BMW, the maximum output of the 330e’s hybrid drivetrain is pegged at 185 kW (252 hp). Both Mercedes and BMW claim fuel economy of 2.1 l/100km (112 mpg) for their hybrids, while the BMW will travel 35 km (22 miles) on battery power alone – 4 km (2.5 miles) more than the C350 plug-in hybrid can manage.
It’s expected the model will use the new four-cylinder-based drivetrain that was shown in the concept X5 EDrive shown at last September’s Frankfurt show. This means the car will primarily be powered by a four-cylinder turbocharged petrol engine, in conjunction with a 95bhp electric motor and lithium-ion battery pack.
Judging by the claims BMW has made for the rather larger and heavier X5 plug-in, the new 3-series should be able to cover over 25 miles on pure battery power at speeds of up to 75mph. This 3-series is likely to be given an official consumption figure of over 80mpg when it undergoes EU fuel consumption tests.
The car will have switchable driving modes, and will default into EcoPro mode when the car starts up. BMW says this offers “intelligent hybrid functionality, whereby the energy management system tailors the interplay of combustion engine and electric drive system to most efficient effect.” A fully charged battery pack can also be put into ‘hold’ mode, so drivers can utilise emissions-free driving, for example, at their city-centre destination.
BMW says the new plug-in drivetrain means that “drivers can also enjoy the services of the hybrid-specific Proactive Driving Assistant, which teams up with the navigation system to incorporate factors such as route profile, speed restrictions and the traffic situation into the driving mode selection”.
We are looking forward to our test drive and expect the fact that BMW is introducing a Plug In in the extremely popular 3 series is a big plus for the EV world.
At last we get a chance to drive the first plug-in hybrid from Audi, the now available A3 sportback e-tron.
This is a very interesting car that is exceedingly well executed by Audi. It joins the ranks of Plug In petrol cars with a hybrid drive train incorporating the standard components of a 1.4 petrol A3 with an electric power train consisting of 75 kW motor and 8.8 kWh lithium-ion battery pack and charger. The pack is large enough to drive 31 miles in pure EV mode. This makes it totally useful as a short-range EV. Has the smart dash that shows charge state and power flow as all hybrids tend to do. Combines sporty seats with quality and refinement.
The Audi A3 offers the usual driving modes: Full Electric, Auto, Petrol and Charge. Auto switches between pure EV and the petrol engine and the transition is so smooth you would be hard tested to know the switch. In this mode the car will charge the battery pack automatically. In Petrol only mode the battery charge will be conserved, allow g a drive to reserve the EV mode for a journeys destination such as London. Just why you would need to micro manage the pack is unknown.
In the EC efficiency test Audi claim an impressive 176 mpg. These tests are virtually meaningless. You could do 176 miles in pure EV mode over 6 days and use no petrol, assuming you re-charged at home or work. Or you could blast down the A3 in an A3 e-tron in Petrol mode and expect a more realistic 40 MPG. Your data will vary considerably depending on your style and charging ability.
The car does drive rather nicely and is reasonable well equipped. For a £30,000 car of course it should be full of goodies. This includes the Audi DSG 6 speed auto gear box with steering wheel shifters and smart gear level. You should leave the car in auto at all times, it drives just fine as is. Performance is reasonable with 60 in around 7.5 seconds. That’s fast enough for day-to-day driving. Top end is a claimed 137 mph.
The performance is always a compromise between power and weight. The e-tron adds 125 kg of mass, bringing curb weight to 1,540 kg. This extra weight has little impact on the standard A3 ride.
It will be interesting to compare this with the new VW Plug in Golf. Both car share most of the components, just the Audi is a tad flasher and more expensive.
With a 30 mile EV range this makes the cute A3 a much better bet than the Toyota Prius plug-in that only offers about 10 miles in EV mode, hardly worth it.
The BMW i3 is a closer competitor especially at the £30 K price point.
Audi A3 e-tron
Tested: 1,395cc turbocharged four-cylinder petrol engine, plus 75kW electric motor powered by 8.8kWh lithium-ion battery, six-speed dual-clutch transmission, front-wheel drive
Price/on sale: £29,950 (including the £5,000 Government plug-in car grant)/now
Power/torque: total system output 201bhp/258lb ft
Top speed: 138mph
Acceleration: 0-62mph in 7.6sec
Fuel economy: 178.8mpg (EU Combined)
CO2 emissions: 37g/km
VED band: A (£0)
Electric range: Up to 31 miles
Verdict: Easy to live with, classy and capable of slashing your day-to-day motoring costs for short-range journey. – A Plug-In hybrid worth the hype, particularly for business users.
We drove the car care of Audi Guildford.