New car registrations down 16.4 per cent on average pre-pandemic June as supply issues hamstring growth

The UK’s car market grew by 28 per cent in June, but uptake was down 16.4 per cent on a 10-year average as supply issues continued to affect the industry.

Figures from the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) show that 186,128 new cars were registered last month.

Though that represented a 28 per cent lift on June 2020, showrooms had only just reopened as the lockdown measures in England began to lift.

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As a result, a more representative comparison is with an average June before the pandemic arrived – with a 10-year average reflecting a 16.4 per cent drop.

In addition, the number of registrations for June 2021 dropped short of industry predictions by around 9,000 units as ongoing global semiconductor shortages continued to hamper supply.

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Mike Hawes, SMMT Chief Executive, said: “With the final phases of the UK’s vaccine rollout well underway and confidence increasing, the automotive sector is now battling against a ‘long Covid’ of vehicle supply challenges.

“The semiconductor shortages arising from Covid-constrained output globally are affecting vehicle production, disrupting supply on certain models and restricting the automotive recovery.”

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Battery electric (BEVs) and plug-in hybrid vehicles (PHEVs) also accounted for 17.2 per cent of new cars on the road at 31,981 units, with BEVs accounting for more than one in 10 registrations.

PHEV uptake was stronger, however, and continued to grow faster than solely battery-powered cars.

Hawes added: “Rebuilding for the next decade is now well underway with investment in local battery production beginning and a raft of new electrified models in showrooms. With the end of domestic restrictions later this month looking more likely, business and consumer optimism should improve further, fuelling increased spending, especially as the industry looks towards September and advanced orders for the next plate change.”