The UK new car market grew year-on-year for the tenth month in a row in May, according to the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT).

It said registrations were up by 16.7% compared with May 2022, to 145,204, and that the market was in its longest uninterrupted period of expansion for eight years – although still down by 21% compared with pre-pandemic 2019.

Continuing a recent pattern, the fleet sector saw major year-on-year growth, up by 36.9% for a 52.5% market share, rebounding from restricted supply to the sector in 2022.

Private registrations were down by 0.5%, while business registrations, classed as to fleets with fewer than 25 vehicles, were up by 22.5%, though these still only accounted for 2.1% of the overall market.

In terms of fuel mix, pure EVs saw 58.7% year-on-year growth in May, for a 16.9% market share.

Plug-in hybrid registrations grew by 23%, for a 6.2% market share, while conventional hybrids were up by 22.2% for a 12.3% market share.

Mild hybrid petrol registrations grew by 36.8%, accounting for 15.9% of the market, but mild hybrid diesels were down by 8.7% for a 3.7% market share.

Pure petrol registrations were up by 5.3% for a 41.2% market share, while pure diesels were down by 24.4%, taking a 4% share.

SMMT chief executive Mike Hawes said, “After the difficult, Covid-constrained supply issues of the last few years, it’s good to see the new car market maintain its upward trend and the fact that growth is, increasingly, green growth is hugely encouraging. 

“Transforming the market nationwide, however, and at an even greater pace means we must increase demand and help any reticent driver overcome any concerns about electric vehicles. 

“This will require every stakeholder – industry, government, chargepoint operators and energy companies – to play their part, accelerating investment to drive decarbonisation.”