Buying your first car is one of the most exciting things after passing your test. It’s a deserved reward after hours of driving lessons and overcoming the nerves that build up before your test.
However, petrol cars are becoming more expensive, which is causing a lot of people to make the switch from fuel to electric. But just how popular are they becoming? Here at Bill Plant Driving School, we wanted to find out the current trends among people buying cars. We wanted to know the most common months that people buy a new car, the most popular type of electric vehicle, and how popular electric vehicles have become, to help you decide on your first, or your next car.
The Most Common Months People Buy Cars
We’ve looked at the average number of vehicles registered each year since 2018 to reveal the most popular month to buy a car. Figures for 2020 were removed due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
1 – March – 455,666 vehicles registered on average
The most common month for people to buy cars is March, with over 450,000 vehicles registered on average during this month. March and September are the most common months people buy cars due to cosmetic reasons. These are the months when new plates are released, so people often buy the newest make and model of a car. Also, motorists will take into consideration residual value, so purchasing a new car will increase how much it’s worth in the near future. However, March registered the highest number of vehicles every year since 2018, making this month the clear winner.
2 – September – 369,994 vehicles registered on average
September is the second most common month for people to buy new cars, with almost 370,000 vehicles registered in the ninth month of the year on average. September had the second-highest number of vehicles registered in each year since 2018.
3 – June – 279,543 vehicles registered on average
June completes our top three with almost 280,000 vehicles registered on average in this month. There is a trend that has developed here. Each month of our top three represents the end of a quarter. It’s likely that people buy cars during these months because car dealers are keen to hit or exceed their quarterly targets and therefore, may be offering better deals or more willing to negotiate. If you can, hold off until one of these months and you may save yourself some money. However, due to current supply side constraints and global pressures on vehicle manufacturing, the benefits might be limited, at least compared to previous years.
1 – Petrol Cars – 218,000 new car registrations in the first quarter of 2022
Despite the growing popularity of electric cars, petrol cars are still the most popular, with 218,000 registered between January and March of 2022. This makes up over 50% of the total cars registered in this time period.
2 – Hybrid Electric Cars – 81,000 new car registrations in the first quarter of 2022
Hybrid electric cars take second place with this type of vehicle being registered 81,000 times. Hybrid electric cars use both an internal combustion engine, as well as a battery-powered engine. Unlike plug-in hybrid vehicles, which rank fifth in our list, the electric engine is powered through regenerative braking and the internal combustion engine, resulting in significantly better fuel economy.
3 – Battery Electric Cars – 64,000 new car registrations in the first quarter of 2022
Battery electric cars complete our top three with 64,000 new car registrations in the first quarter of 2022. Battery electric vehicles are solely powered by a battery, which means no gas and therefore no emissions. As well as being better for the environment, you don’t have to pay road tax for fully electric cars as they are zero emission.
How Popular are Electric Vehicles Becoming?
It’s no secret that electric cars are becoming more and more common. So we wanted to find out just how popular they’ve become over the last five years.
1 – Battery Electric Cars – 1,262% increase in five years
Battery electric cars have increased the most in popularity over the last five years, with these types of vehicles increasing by over 1,200%. The number of battery electric cars has also doubled since last year, increasing by just over 100%. This was also the biggest increase in the last year.
2 – Plug-In Hybrid Electric Cars – 305% increase in five years
In second place is plug-in hybrid electric cars which have increased in popularity by 305%. Plug-in Hybrid electric cars use both internal combustion engines as well as battery-powered engines. Like hybrid electric cars, they use regenerative braking to power the battery, however, the battery is much larger and therefore also needs to be recharged through a plug.
3 – Hybrid Electric Cars – 286% increase in five years
Our second most popular car in the first quarter of 2022 completes our top three, increasing by almost 300%. Hybrid electric cars are a great option as their emissions are very low, which means low road tax, and your trips to the petrol station will be cheaper. When braking in a petrol car, a lot of energy is lost through heat when braking. Hybrid cars use this energy to recharge the battery to help power the car.
4 – Petrol Cars – 49% decrease in five years
Petrol cars might be the most registered type of car in the early months of 2022, however, their popularity is decreasing. Petrol cars decreased by 11% in the first quarter of 2022, however, in the last five years the number of petrol cars registered has almost halved.
5 – Diesel Cars – 91% decrease in five years
Diesel cars have decreased the most in popularity in the last five years. Since last year, the number of diesel cars registered has halved, and in the last five years, they’ve decreased by 91%.
The 10 Most Popular EVs
If you’re looking to invest in an electric vehicle, then these are the most popular cars that have been registered this year.
1 – Tesla Model 3 & Tesla Model Y – 7,800 cars registered in the first quarter of 2022
Elon Musk will be a happy man as two of his Tesla models share first place as the most popular electric vehicle this year. The Model 3 and Model Y both had 7,800 registrations in the first quarter of 2022.
3 – Kia Niro – 4,300 cars registered in the first quarter of 2022
Comfortably in third place is the Kia Niro with 4,300 cars registered in the first quarter of 2022. The Kia Niro has both plug-in hybrid and battery-electric options, with the latter being more popular. 3,800 battery electric Kia Niro’s were registered at the beginning of the year, which was over seven times more popular than the plug-in hybrid option, which was just registered 500 times.
4 – Volkswagen ID.3 – 2,700 cars registered in the first quarter of 2022
The Volkswagen ID.3 completes our top three with 2,700 cars registered in the first quarter of 2022. The Volkswagen ID.3 is only available as a battery electric vehicle and narrowly takes fourth place ahead of the Volvo XC40.
What to consider when buying a car, according to experts at Bill Plant
As exciting as buying a car can be, it can also be stressful as there are a number of things to look out for and consider. We’ve put together some tips for you to make buying your next car as easy as possible.
1 – Buy at the end of the quarter
We’ve seen this trend develop in the most common months to buy a car. Each of the top three was at the end of a quarter, with March, July, and September being the most popular months. The reason for this is that dealerships will most likely have quarterly targets to hit, which will make negotiating a little bit easier. They may also have more offers on their cars, which will give you the best chance of getting the cheapest possible deal.
2 – Test drive
Buying a car can be a hefty investment, therefore the fewer surprises the better. You want to know all the details you can to make sure you are getting your money’s worth. Therefore, test driving is key. Each car will feel slightly different when driven, so you want a car that you feel comfortable and safe in. You may also notice something is wrong with the car when it’s driven which may put you off buying it.
3 – MOT History
Just like our second tip, information is key and the more you know about the car the better. There are numerous sites which can tell you the MOT history of the car, such as whether it passed or failed, and some of the issues flagged. If the car is regularly failing its MOT, then it may not be as reliable as you want.
4 – Cost of Ownership
As well as the overall cost of buying the car, you need to consider the running costs. Road tax, MOTs, and repairs could make the car too expensive to run, and cause you more problems than you need in the future. Every month that you own the car makes it less valuable, as the residual cost of the vehicle is divided by how many months old it is when working out its cost. It’s also important to look into the warranty from the dealer, as this can save you money if there are any unexpected problems which occur.
5 – Residual Value
The residual value, or in more basic terms, how much the car is worth when selling means that most cars will depreciate in value the more you use them. This is no secret. However, some cars depreciate quicker than others. Reliability and exclusivity are key factors in this. If a car isn’t reliable, then people will be put off as they don’t want to fork out on constant repairs. Also, the more popular a car is, the less money you’ll get when you want to resale. This is because there will be lots of them on the market making prices more competitive. A bit of research and digging could save you money in the long run when looking to sell your car.
6 – Insurance
The cost of insuring a car varies greatly depending on the type of car that you are purchasing. Insurers place different cars into one of fifty ‘insurance groups’, generally the lower the group number the cheaper the car is to insure. Many factors contribute to which insurance group a car model is placed in, these include: the value of the car when purchased, estimated repair costs and repair times, performance figures such as speed and acceleration, safety features fitted, security features, and engine size.
We’ve used the Government’s vehicle licensing statistics to discover the most common months people buy a car, the most common type of car, the most popular electric vehicles, and how popular electric vehicles have become.
All statistics represent data from the first quarter of 2022, January – March.
For the most common months to buy a car, we used the totals from 2018, 2019, and 2021, as well as the first three months of 2022, to find the average number of cars purchased each month. 2020 was removed due to the COVID-19 pandemic which significantly reduced figures.