The UK new car market suffered its worst June in more than a quarter of a century last month as supply constraints continued to restrict sales. Figures released this week by the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) show registrations were down 24.3 percent last month.
According to the SMMT, just over 140,000 new cars were registered in the UK during June, down from more than 186,000 in the same month last year. The organisation, which represents the UK’s car makers and dealers, is blaming the decline on the global semiconductor shortage, which is reducing the supply of vehicles to customers.
The result means just over 802,000 new cars were registered in the UK during the first half of 2022, down from almost 910,000 during the first half of 2021. That reduction of 11.9 percent comes despite last year’s national lockdown ensuring dealers were only open for click-and-collect customers during the first few months of the year.
However, there was some good news in the electric vehicle sector, where sales continue to rise. Battery-electric car sales were up 14.6 percent in June, meaning more than 115,000 were sold in the first half of 2022. That’s up 56 percent on the 74,000 sold during the same period last year.
Similarly, sales of hybrid cars were up 26.3 percent in the first half of 2022, with 91,602 hitting the roads of the UK. That’s up from around 72,500 registrations between January and June 2021. However, plug-in hybrid sales are declining, down 11.9 percent in the first half of the year, although their market share remains unchanged as a result.
Mike Hawes, the SMMT’s chief executive, said registrations of electric vehicles were “the one bright spot” for the sector amid supply chain issues.
“The semiconductor shortage is stifling the new car market even more than last year’s lockdown,” he said.
“Electric vehicle demand continues to be the one bright spot, as more electric cars than ever take to the road, but while this growth is welcome it is not yet enough to offset weak overall volumes, which has huge implications for fleet renewal and our ability to meet overall carbon reduction targets. With motorists facing rising fuel costs, however, the switch to an electric car makes ever more sense and the industry is working hard to improve supply and prioritise deliveries of these new technologies given the savings they can afford drivers.”