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Hybrids in demand as environmental concerns grow among buyers

Toyota Prius hybrid

Environmental concerns are playing a bigger part than ever before in new car buying decisions, with 49% of buyers saying they will consider a hybrid and 33% looking for an electric model.

The statistics, which were released as part of a report by BNP Paribas Personal Finance, showcased a growing divide in the perception and purchasing decisions between city and country populations.

In large cities, 55% of those surveyed said they planned to invest in a hybrid vehicle, compared to 42% in smaller towns and rural areas.

Andrew Brameld, managing director of motor finance at BNP Paribas Personal Finance in the UK, said: “It is evident from this research that hybrid and electric vehicles are going to become increasingly important when it comes to the health of the new car market.

“Even though there is still a divide in opinions between older and younger generations and rural and urban drivers, this research has revealed that there is a growing concern amongst all groups about the environmental impact of their purchasing decisions.

“It will be interesting to see how lower fuel prices as a result of the coronavirus crisis will affect purchasing habits. It also remains to be seen whether people will revert back to buying petrol and diesel alternatives in the short term, while those cost savings are place.

“But this report shows that as a developing trend the public is very much on board with government efforts to encourage the sales of environmentally-friendly vehicles and we only expect to see this develop further in coming years.”

Diesel vehicles, which are already experiencing a reduced market share, are set to continue to fall in popularity. According to the study, just under a third of motorists intend to invest in this type of car.

New battery electric vehicle (BEV) registrations increased massively last month (June), compared to June 2019.

There were 8,903 pure electric new cars registered in June – a 262% increase on the 2,461 pure EVs sold in the same month last year.

Diesel new car registrations were down 60% and petrol fell 40% compared to June 2019's figures. Registrations of plug-in hybrid electric vehicles (PHEVs) were up 117% year-on-year, from 2,270 units in June 2019 to 4,926 PHEVs registered last month (June).

Transportation currently accounts for around a third of the UK’s total emissions according to recent government figures, and despite a push from manufacturers to develop cleaner, more environmentally-friendly vehicles, the motor industry is continuing to struggle to shake off negative public perceptions.

According to the report, 69% of the UK population believes cars are the main cause of pollution globally, ahead of other pollutants such as aviation and manufacturing, with those in the 18-34 category most likely to agree with the statement.

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