Leasing demand for battery electric vehicles (BEVs) outperformed the overall new BEV market in 2022, according to Leasing.com, as consumers also adjusted their vehicle preferences in light of the cost-of-living crisis.

End-of-year data from Leasing.com – a car leasing comparison website – shows a step change in consumer behaviour when it comes to choosing a family car. In a year that saw fuel shortages, fuel price hikes, supply chain issues and a country wrestling with the cost-of-living crisis, the automotive market had its fair share of challenges. 

New vehicle registrations for 2022 were down 2% on 2021 to 1.61 million units. Wider macro-economic and supply chain issues continued to affect availability and dictate new car demand with the Nissan Qashqai, Kia Sportage and Hyundai Tucson outperforming other established brands to become the stars of the 2022 leasing market.

2022 themes

One constant theme of 2022 was the continued surge in demand for electric vehicles. All electric vehicles (plugin, hybrid and battery) accounted for 35.3% of the total demand seen on Leasing.com, up 17.6% on the demand seen in 2021.

SMMT data shows battery electric vehicles (BEVs) accounted for 16.6% of new car sales last year, whereas BEV demand on Leasing.com outperformed the market accounting for 18.8% of total sales enquiries – an increase of 15.3% on 2021 BEV demand. 

Demand for diesel continued to decline last year with diesel-engined vehicles accounting for 10.6% of Leasing.com sales enquiries, down from a market share of 17.2% in 2021.

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Consumer focus on affordability meant that four-year lease agreements were the most popular profile in 2022 overtaking three-year terms as consumers seek to spread costs and lock down payment certainty.

Average annual mileage allowances also increased as motorists returned to the office and increased their social travel. 8,000 miles was the most popular mileage bracket requested in 2022, up from the 5,000 miles in 2021 during the pandemic. The average personal leasing rental was £354 per month last year.

In the business leasing market, business users on average sought out three-year lease agreements with an annual mileage allowance of 10,000 and paid an average monthly rental of £425 excluding VAT. Uptake of BEVs was also far higher amongst business users.

“Our 2022 data clearly shows that new car demand followed stock availability with supply dictating the sales winners and losers. In the second half of the year the cost-of-living crisis meant affordability became a real focus for consumers as shown in the profile of vehicles and terms they sought out. Throughout 2022, the strongest theme was the continued shift to electric motoring with EVs representing over a third of total demand on Leasing.com.

“While the momentum behind EVs will continue, the leasing of practical, more affordable cars will be a key trend in 2023 as cost-conscious consumers forego more expensive brands in favour of alternative manufacturers that offer similar benefits, but at a lower monthly cost.”

Paul Harrison, Chief Partnerships Officer at Leasing.com

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