The UK’s new car registrations rankings from the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) in August 2019 proved quite surprising, thanks in no small part to the arrival and apparent success of the Tesla Model 3.
Prior to the Model 3’s arrival, Tesla had only been registering around a few hundred cars a month in Britain, to the point where the company did not even warrant its own separate brand in the SMMT’s monthly rankings. Tesla’s Model S sedan and Model X SUV were well-loved by consumers, but both were simply listed as part of the “Other” category.
As it turned out, the Model 3 would make a big splash in the region with its arrival. The electric sedan was launched in the UK back in June, but deliveries of the vehicle only started to hit their stride last month. In August, the Model 3 pushed an 847% increase in the numbers of the SMMT list’s “Other” category. The Model 3 also raised the UK’s overall electric car deliveries for August 2019 by 377%.
These numbers resulted in the SMMT’s Top 10 list for August 2019 having the “Other” category in third place, just behind the Ford Fiesta and Volkswagen Golf, both of which are more affordable than the Tesla Model 3. Other vehicles in the society’s Top 10 list were affordable vehicles as well, such as the Ford Ecosport and the Volkswagen Tiguan.
Even more remarkably, the strong sales of the Tesla Model 3 in the UK also helped control the overall decline in UK new car registrations in August to just 1.6%, or just 1,521 vehicles fewer compared to August 2018’s figures. This was explained by Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) chief executive Mike Hawes in a statement to Motoring Research.
“August is typically the new car market’s quietest month so the huge increase in EV registrations is very visible but especially welcome. It’s great to see consumers respond to the massive industry investment made over many years. While this is encouraging, these figures also show the scale of the challenge ahead.
“It’s a long road to zero and while manufacturers can deliver the technology, they can’t dictate the pace of uptake. To support a smooth transition and deliver environmental gains now, we need a long-term government commitment to measures that give consumers confidence to invest in the latest technologies that best suit their needs,” he said.
The Tesla Model 3 continues to be a force to be reckoned with in the UK’s auto market. Apart from its strong sales, the vehicle was also lauded by reviewers such as UK-based auto group carwow, which listed the Model 3 as the best electric car that consumers can buy today. Certified gearhead and Top Gear host Chris Harris also proved impressed with the vehicle, stating after a review that he would likely be ordering a Model 3 Performance for himself.