Sue Robinson, chief executive of the National Franchised Dealers Association (NFDA)
"Despite the continued supply constraints, new car sales rose 27.5% in January as last year's market was heavily affected by the lockdown; positively, 85% of franchised dealers are optimistic about levels of consumer demand in the year ahead", said Sue Robinson, chief executive of the National Franchised Dealers Association (NFDA), which represents franchised car and commercial vehicle retailers in the UK commenting on the latest SMMT's new passenger car registration figures.
An NFDA poll of franchised dealers conducted this week indicated that the majority of them are 'optimistic' about the levels of consumer demand in 2022*. NFDA's figures indicate also that dealers are generally more optimistic now than they were in December.
Overall registrations were driven by demand from private buyers, up by 64.1% from last year, whilst fleet remained stable.
Sales of electrified vehicles performed well, particularly battery electric vehicles (BEVs) were up 130.6%, plug-In hybrid electric vehicles (PHEVs) rose 47.3%.
Sue Robinson added: "It is encouraging to see that demand from private consumers drove the market in January, with extremely strong performances in the EV segments. At the same time, as customers come to terms with new vehicles' lead times, also the used car market remains robust.
"To ensure sustained growth in the electric vehicle market as more models become available, NFDA encourages consumers to visit an electric vehicle approved dealer where experts can help overcome any uncertainties around switching to EV.
"Last year, as showrooms were closed, retailers relied on online sales and click & collect; however, the majority of franchised dealers reported that the volume of online enquiries in January was stable or, in most cases, up from the same period in 2021, showing that consumer appetite is buoyant.
"Going forward, there is confidence that demand will pick up further as supply improves".
*The quick-fire poll was conducted by NFDA between Wednesday 2 and Thursday 3 February 2022; 42 chief executives representing a mix of small and large franchised dealer groups responded.