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Gloucestershire Business News

April sales push best forecast since 1983

Prestige car brands are reporting booming demand for their latest models, with Aston Martin and Porsche seeing sales surge over the first three months of 2023.

But EV options are faltering due to "chargepoint anxiety".

The news comes as the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) today posts figures to reveal UK new car sales have risen for the ninth month in a row, showing an 11.6% bounce.

The SMMT data marks the best April since 2021's 141,583 units, but remains 17.4% down on 2019 volumes. Business and fleet car demand took a 45.5% slice of April's sales, and while Tesla's £44,000 model Y remarkably topped the previous month's charts, April saw Ford's Puma, priced from a comparatively modest £24,660, reach number-one spot.

Mike Hawes, SMMT chief executive, said: "The new car market is increasingly bullish, as easing supply chain pressures provide a much-needed boost. However, the broader economic conditions and chargepoint anxiety are beginning to cast a cloud over the market's eagerness to adopt zero emission mobility at the scale and pace needed.

"To ensure all drivers can benefit from electric vehicles, we need everyone - government, local authorities, energy companies and charging providers - to accelerate their investment in the transition and bolster consumer confidence in making the switch."

April's SMMT figures show the overall market is now up 16.9% in the first four months - the best start to a year since the pandemic, indicating growth worth £3.2bn. The SMMT has consequently revised its quarterly market outlook - the first positive revision since 2021 - with 1.83m new car registrations now expected in 2023. In January, that estimate was set at 1.79m. Expected market growth this year is consequently marked up at 13.5%, which would be the best percentage gain since 1983.

British maker Aston Martin, represented in Cheltenham by HR Owen, says it has seen a 27% rise in revenue, to £295m, losses at the Warwickshire-based marque having slimmed down to £74.2m.

Since 2013, Aston Martin has been in technical partnership with Mercedes-Benz and in October 2020 Mercedes confirmed a plan to increase its holding from 5% to 20%. In return, Aston Martin gained more access to Mercedes-Benz hybrid and electric drivetrain componentry for its future models.

Aston Martin's latest sales success has been bolstered by demand for the DBS 770 Ultimate, priced from £314,000, which was limited to a production run of 499 units and which is now sold out. The cheapest Aston martin in the UK is the Vantage, which is priced at £125,200.

Porsche's UK sales are also impressive: cars sold for year-to-date 2023 stands at 1,876, which is a 74.6% rise on the past 12-month period of 1,074 cars. Reporting global sales of £8.8bn and a profit of £1.6bn, Porsche's sales and revenues have climbed by 25 per cent in the first quarter of 2023, compared to the same period 12 months ago.

In January, Bentley reported record sales. Driven by demand across the USA, Europe and Asia, the Crewe-based company said it had delivered 15,174 cars in 2022 - a 4% rise on 2021. Rolls-Royce also revealed a new record (of 6,021 cars) in 2022, showing an 8% year-on-year increase.

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