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FILE PHOTO: New cars are pictured at a car dealership, as Britain's car industry body releases monthly new car sales figures, in Cheshire, Britain October 5, 2020 REUTERS/Jason Cairnduff

UK new car sales rise in November, fail to zoom past 2019 levels- SMMT

(Reuters) – British new car registrations jumped nearly 24% in November from a year earlier to record their fourth straight month of gains, driven by sales of large fleets and a pick-up in demand from private buyers, an industry body said on Monday.

The Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) said registrations in November stood at 142,889 units, nearly 9% below pre-pandemic levels.

“While further recovery is anticipated in 2023, global and domestic economic challenges mean that the market will remain below pre-pandemic levels,” it said.

Britain’s auto market, still reeling from the impact of chip shortages plaguing the industry, has been hit by the cost of living crisis, which has seen consumers limit big-ticket purchases.

The sales of environment friendly electric vehicles (EVs) continued to strengthen, with registrations of battery EVs rising 34.2% and accounting for more than one in five new cars in November.

Registrations by large fleets jumped 45.4% year-on-year, while demand from private buyers grew 2.7%.

SMMT Chief Executive Officer Mike Hawes called for urgent measures including more investment in electric charging infrastructure to rev up appetite for EVs.

 

(Reporting by Aby Jose Koilparambil in Bengaluru; Editing by Dhanya Ann Thoppil and Anil D’Silva)