UK's car parc nears 36 million, says SMMT, after 2023 market growth

The UK car parc, the number of cars registered for UK roads, reached 35.7 million by the end of 2023, according to the Society of Motor Manufacturers’ Motorparc database.

That total comes after the UK’s strongest post-pandemic new car market last year.

The data confirms, however, that franchised dealer networks could be missing a huge opportunity in aftersales from focusing on young cars, particularly as electrification ramps up, as two in three of all cars currently are older than seven years.

Almost one in three cars has been on the road for at least 12 years, which is a testament to the production and engineering quality developed by the global automotive industry since the 1980s. 

However the SMMT pointed out that the ‘implied scrappage rate’ has fallen to the lowest level on record, and it reiterates its message to the UK Government that providing consumers with some level of financial incentives, similar to the tax advantages enjoyed by company car drivers who choose zero emission new cars, “would help dramatically decarbonise UK road transport.

motorparc 2023 car ages w800It highlights that, despite the record number of motors on the road, average car CO2 dropped -2.1%. However a -11.5% drop is emissions was recorded in the company car segment, where both drivers and companies are incentivised to choose lower emission models and where cars are typically less than five years old.

Overall, of all cars registered for UK roads only 4.3% are plug-in cars (2.7% battery electric, 1.6% PHEV).

Of all the 5 million vans and light commercial vehicles on UK roads, just 1.3% are plug-in (1.2% battery electric, 0.1% PHEV).

motorparc 2023 vehicle fuel types w800Mike Hawes, SMMT chief executive, said, “After two challenging years of constrained supply, more people and businesses across the UK are now getting back behind the wheel – and increasingly, opting for greener options. However, given the ageing fleet, we now need to encourage consumers and businesses who have deferred purchases of new cars, vans, trucks and buses to upgrade. 

A stronger and stable economy, coupled with reduced living costs, would boost consumer and business confidence, while compelling fiscal incentives would ensure that these purchases are emissions free. Not only would this accelerate the transition – fundamental to the UK’s net zero ambitions – but it would also stimulate the economy and enhance the wider environment in which we all live.”

motorparc 2023 car ownership by region w800

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