Petrol & diesel car sales 'continue to boom' as drivers 'stick to what they know'

Fresh data from AutoTrader has shown interest in traditional petrol and diesel cars were 74 times higher than electric models. They added nine out of ten car buyers look at a car with an Internal Combustion Engine (ICE) instead of hybrid or electric capabilities.

Speaking to, Ian Plummer, AutoTrader’s Commercial Director said an “upswing in interest” for new electric models did not “convert to sales”.

He said: “Whilst we saw an upswing in interest for EVs throughout 2020, this didn’t necessarily convert to sales, whereas interest in diesel and petrol vehicles has continued to boom during the pandemic.

“In fact, last month, there was an enormous 200 million advert views for diesel and petrol vehicles combined, compared to just 2.7million views for electric.

“It just shows that people are sticking to what they know during these unprecedented times.”

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Data from January shows new sales of electric models were up 54.4 percent on last year with over 6,000 cars EV models leaving forecourts.

Sales of traditional models were down with diesel dropping 62.1 percent and petrol by over 50 percent.

The market share for traditional cars was still strong with petrol and diesel cars making up 62 percent of all sales.

However, this could suggest a divide between new and used cars as more turn to second-hand vehicle sites such as AutoTrader.

Data from AutoTrader suggests a financial divide between those buying electric and petrol vehicles.

A total of 54 percent of electric car buyers had incomes of over £50,000 suggesting money is a barrier to adoption.

Ian Plummer has warned the financial concerns means the new vehicles would “remain out of reach for many people”.

He told “There also appears to be a wide gap in household incomes between those buying ICE vehicles and those buying electric.

“Analysis from our marketplace shows that over half of those buying electric earn above £50,000, whereas 62 percent of ICE buyers have an income below £50,000.

“This suggests that until prices of EVs can compete with those of their ICE counterparts that they will remain out of reach for many people.

“That said, electric cars are cheaper to run, making total cost of ownership more attractive than petrol for example, so they shouldn’t be dismissed despite the higher upfront price tag.”

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