New car registrations fall as supply issues continue to bite

Battery electric vehicles buck trend, growing market share to 10.9 per cent - but pace of growth slows

New car registrations fall as supply issues continue to bite

UK new car registrations fell by 9.0 per cent to reach 112,162 units in July, according to the latest figures from the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT).

The result marks the fifth month of consecutive decline, although the fall is the smallest recorded this year.

Ongoing global supply chain issues, predominantly the lack of semiconductors, continued to frustrate order fulfilment, exacerbated by Covid lockdowns in key manufacturing and logistics centres in China, plus disruption from the war in Ukraine, all of which restricted production output and thus supply into the UK new car market.

Declines were driven primarily by a 18.2 per cent fall in registrations by large fleets, to 50,014 units, while consumer registrations remained steady at 59,847 units.

As a result, private registrations in the year to date are now 3.7 per cent up on 2021 as manufacturers prioritise private customers.

Battery electric vehicle (BEV) uptake grew 9.9 per cent to 12,243 units to achieve a 10.9 per cent market share for the month.

Related: Average used car prices up £4,100 on pre-pandemic levels with no slowdown in sight

Although this is the weakest monthly uplift recorded by BEVs since the pandemic, overall growth in the year has reached 49.9 per cent to deliver a 13.9 per cent market share, illustrating the volatility in the supply chain.

July was a weaker month for hybrid electric vehicle (HEV) uptake, with registrations falling 6.7 per cent to take 12.2 per cent of the market.

Plug-in hybrids (PHEVs) fell 34.0 per cent which cut their market share to 5.8 per cent.

The outlook for the full year has been revised downwards to 1.6 million new car registrations – a 2.8 per cent fall on 2021, with the industry facing its most challenging year for three decades.

Mike Hawes, SMMT Chief Executive, said, “The automotive sector has had another tough month and is drawing on its fundamental resilience during a third consecutive challenging year as the squeeze on supply bedevils deliveries.

“While order books are strong, we need a healthy market to ensure the sector delivers the carbon savings government ambitions demand.

“The next Prime Minister must create the conditions for economic growth, restore consumer confidence and support the transition to zero emission mobility.”

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