New car registrations fall by nine per cent amid ongoing production challenges

New car registrations fell for a fifth consecutive month in July as ongoing production challenges continued to hit manufacturers.

Figures out today from automotive industry body the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) show that 112,162 new cars were registered in July – a decline of nine per cent on the same month in 2021.

It was the fifth month in a row of decline, although the SMMT points out that the ‘fall is the smallest recorded this year’.

The only two fuel types to increase in popularity were mild-hybrid diesels, which were up 4.3 per cent to 7,104 registrations and electric cars, which saw sales increase by 9.9 per cent in July to 12,243.

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However, the pace of growth slowed for electric cars, with this being the weakest monthly uplift recorded for EVs since the pandemic.

The overall drop in registrations is being put down to ‘ongoing supply chain issues’, particularly a lack of semiconductors that are used throughout a car. The SMMT says the issue has been ‘exacerbated’ by recent Covid lockdowns in China, as well as disruption from the Ukraine conflict.

Because of the ongoing disruption, the SMMT has downgraded its registration forecast for the year, with 1.6 million new cars now predicted for all of 2022 – a fall of 2.8 per cent on 2021.

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.”

On a brighter note, July’s two best-selling cars were both produced in the UK, with the Nissan Qashqai in pole position and the Mini taking second place, at 2,514 and 2,410 registrations respectively. The Hyundai Tucson was the third most popular new car with 2,267 registrations.