New car registrations fall 22 per cent in August but electrified demand continues to surge

New car registrations fell by 22 per cent in August but demand for electric and hybrid vehicles continued to rise, according to figures released today by the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT).

August is traditionally a quiet month for registrations given its position just before the introduction of a new plate in September, but despite this demand for electric, hybrid and plug-in hybrid vehicles rose by 32.2, 45.7 and 72.1 per cent respectively.

The market year-to-date was up 20.3 per cent against Covid-struck 2020, but lags someway behind pre-pandemic levels as the industry continues to be hampered by semiconductor shortages.

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In total, 68,033 cars were registered during the month, with the most popular fuel standing as petrol with 29,451. That said, battery-electric, plug-in hybrid and hybrid vehicles accounted for 20,498 sales – up 36.9 per cent year-on-year. Diesel, meanwhile, slumped by 64.5 per cent on last year’s figures to 5,077 units during the month.

Overall, itt represented the weakest August since 2013 and was down 7.6 per cent on the average figure recorded over the last decade. Total registrations for 2021 are 25.3 per cent below the 10 year average for the period January to August.

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Mike Hawes, SMMT chief executive, said: “While August is normally one of the quietest months for UK new car registrations these figures are still disappointing, albeit not wholly surprising. The global shortage of semiconductors has affected UK, and indeed global, car production volumes so new car registrations will inevitably be undermined. Government can help by continuing the supportive Covid measures in place currently, especially the furlough scheme which has proven invaluable to so many businesses.

“As we enter the important September plate-change month with an ever-increasing range of electrified models and attractive deals, buyers in the market for the new 71 plate can be reassured manufacturers are doing all they can to ensure prompt deliveries.