New car sales weakest since 1996

New car sales fell by 24.3% last month, making it the weakest June since 1996, according to the latest figures from the SMMT.

Ongoing parts supply issues along with additional pandemic restrictions in China being are being blamed for impeding the industry’s ability to meet demand. Just 140,958 new vehicles were registered, during the month.

Despite the overall poor performance, battery electric vehicle (BEV) sales continued to climb, with a 14.6% increase. ,In overall market share, they now represent 16.1% of the total, up from 10.7% in 2021. Meanwhile, plug-in hybrid electric vehicle (PHEV) sales dropped by 4,425, ending up with 5.5% of the market share. Across the board, plug-in vehicles made up 21.6% of all of new cars in June. Apart from hybrid electric vehicles (HEVs), which increased their market share to 10.6% despite a 1,172 fall in sales compared with 2021 all other powertrains saw their registration volumes and market share dropped.

Commenting on the figures, and the ongoing constraints afflicting carmakers, SMMT Chief Executive, Mike Hawes said: “The semiconductor shortage is stifling the new car market even more than last year’s lockdown. 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.”

AA Cars CEO James Fairclough, commented: “June’s slide in new car sales caps off a miserable first half of the year. The continued improvement in pure EV sales is the only crumb of comfort in an otherwise stubbornly downward trend. Yet there are some tentative signs of recovery in the supply of the new cars, with separate SMMT data showing that the number of vehicles rolling off UK production lines increased in May – the first expansion after 10 straight months of decline.

“Nevertheless it’s too early to call the end of the supply constraints that held back sales throughout the first half of the year. Disruptions in the supply of steel and semiconductors – two things new cars use a lot of – mean that global car production is still below par. Only the most committed buyers are willing to place an order for a new car they won’t receive for several months.”

He added: “If the first half of 2022 has been haunted by the spectre of poor supply, the question for the second half of the year is how Britain’s slowing economy will impact demand. The quest for better value has led many prospective buyers to switch their focus to the second-hand market, and many dealers report that sales of used vehicles are outpacing those of brand new models.”

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