The UK’s new car market saw modest growth during August, ending five months of declining sales.
According to figures from the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT), registrations grew by a modest 1.2 per cent during the month, with some 68,858 vehicles registered. August is traditionally a quieter month for registrations, with buyers hanging on until September to secure the ‘new’ number plate.
Yet despite this growth, August’s volumes were the weakest for the month – excluding 2021 – since 2013 as manufacturers continued to deal with supply chain issues and parts shortages. Business customers saw the greatest increase of 26.6 per cent, though large fleet registrations by 1.6 per cent.
Year-to-date registrations are down by 10.7, however, and more than a third lower than during the first eight months of pre-pandemic 2019.
Mike Hawes, SMMT Chief Executive, said: “August’s new car market growth is welcome, but marginal during a low volume month. Spiralling energy costs and inflation on top of sustained supply chain challenges are piling even more pressure on the automotive industry’s post-pandemic recovery, and we urgently need the new Prime Minister to tackle these challenges and restore confidence and sustainable growth. ]
“With September traditionally a bumper time for new car uptake, the next month will be the true barometer of industry recovery as it accelerates the transition to zero emission mobility despite the myriad challenges.”
Battery electric vehicles (BEVs) yet again forged a path ahead in registrations, posting a 34.4 per cent increase and a 14.5 per cent market share. The SMMT states that growth in this area is slowing, however, with a year-to-date increase of 48.8 per cent, contrasting the end of the first quarter of 2022 when BEV registrations had been up by 101.9 per cent.
Registrations for plug-in hybrid models fell by 23.1 per cent, representing 5.6 per cent of monthly registrations. Standard hybrid model registrations, however, remained ‘relatively stable’ with a fall of 0.7 per cent. Hybrid vehicles now account for 8.7 per cent of the market.
Registrations for diesel cars fell by 12.3 per cent during the month, with 4,455 examples registered. They now occupy 6.5 per cent of the market, contrasting 46 per cent of petrol cars. During the month, some 31,652 petrol-powered cars were registered.