The automotive industry briefing

The latest news, views and numbers you need to know this month

News in Numbers


Sales in the UK new car market dropped 39.5% year-on-year in February, according to the SMMT.


The UK government has pledged £30m in funding for EV and hydrogen technology.


Percentage of private new car sales financed by FLA members in the 12 months to January.


Pendragon posted underlying profit before tax of £8.2m in 2020.


BEV and PHEV combined market share in February, up from 5.7% in February 2020.


Drivvn processes £382m in sales through 2020

E-commerce firm drivvn processed £382m in sales across its platform in 2020, indicating a significant shift to digital retailing during the pandemic.

Mann Island Finance lending reaches £500m mark

Mann Island Finance has stepped up its lending activity in the last year, with its total lending passing the £500m mark in early March.

Finance Link secures £50k BBLS loan from GC Business Finance

Motor finance firm Finance Link has secured £50,000 form GC Business Finance through the Bounce Back Loan Scheme (BBLS).

iVendi processes £1.3bn of used car sales in pandemic year

iVendi processed more than £1.3bn of online and showroom vehicle sales during the 12 months of the pandemic – representing an increase of £200m year-on-year.


Sales of EVS have been performing well but they still represent a relatively small proportion of the market; the timing of the cut to the grant is unfortunate as a number of private customers are currently waiting for showrooms to reopen to get familiar with new types of vehicles, including EVs.

Sue Robinson of the NFDA on the government decision to slash EV grant

British Ports Association chief executive Richard Ballantyne, following UK Chancellor Rishi Sunak’s announcement that the Freeports selection process will see the first sites in England set up by the end of 2021:

“This is a welcome development and by being more inclusive in terms of the number of freeports there might be, the government can now explore how to better deliver on its levelling up agenda without picking regions over each other. Coastal communities are often in areas of high deprivation and have also experienced challenges resulting from the coronavirus pandemic and lockdown so this potentially transformative policy will be welcomed across a range of suitable locations.”

As lockdown restrictions ease, there is a real need to instil confidence among consumers and businesses to ensure that any recovery in the economy can be sustained. The short-term certainty offered by the extension of furlough into September to help employers and employees is welcome – as is the Chancellor’s support for an investment-led recovery.

Stephen Haddrill, director general of the FLA, concerning the government’s March budget

The opening of car showrooms on 12 April is a real opportunity for dealers to boost sales volumes after a hugely challenging 12 months. April and May could see a surge in new car sales, coinciding with the recent release of the new ‘21’ number plate.

Philip Nothard, insight and strategy director at Cox Automotive, on the relaxation of lockdown measures