Registrations of new cars in June grew 28.0 per cent year-on-year to 186,128, according to the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT)’s latest figures. The monthly performance was again artificially lifted through comparison with June 2020, when the UK began to emerge from the first pandemic lockdown and showrooms in England opened up at the beginning of the month.
New commercial vehicle registrations continue to develop positively throughout Europe. According to ACEA, registrations were up 209 per cent in the European Union and up 256 per cent across Europe as a whole. While not those dizzying heights, year-to-date figures remain strong (up 45.9 per cent in the EU and up 51.1 per cent across Europe), reflecting the recovery of demand.
The significant increase in LCV registrations in September was welcomed by the National Franchised Dealers Association (NFDA), which represents franchised commercial vehicle dealers in the UK, whose Chief Executive Sue Robinson said: “It is encouraging to see the van market experience an uplift in registrations of over a quarter indicating that a degree of confidence has returned to the sector”.
The UK new car market declined -4.4 per cent in September, according to figures from the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT). The sector recorded 328,041 new registrations in the month – the weakest September since the introduction of the dual number plate system in 1999 and some -15.8 per cent lower than the 10-year average of around 390,000 units for the month.
The UK new light commercial vehicle (LCV) market grew by more than a quarter (+26.4 per cent) in September, according to the latest SMMT figures. In total, 52,096 vans, pickups and 4x4s were registered in the month, up some 10,880 units on a weak September 2019, when regulatory changes distorted the market.
The UK’s new heavy goods vehicle (HGV) market declined by 73.4 per cent year-on-year in the second quarter of 2020. The Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) reports that 4,151 units were registered between 1 March and 30 June 2020. Just 328 buses and coaches joined UK roads during the quarter.
UK motorists are some of the fastest adopters of online car buying, something that is rapidly becoming the new normal in Britain, Germany and Spain, according to research conducted by online car retailer carwow. A survey of over 1000 consumers who bought a car through carwow since dealerships were allowed to reopen found 54 per cent of recent the company’s customers in the UK said they would continue to do the bulk of their car buying online from now on. In Spain it was 45 per cent and it was 38 per cent in Germany.
European passenger car registrations plummeted 52.3 per cent during May, according to the latest ACEA figures. Although COVID-19 lockdown measures were eased in many countries last month, the number of new cars sold across the European Union fell from 1,217,259 units in May 2019 to 581,161 passenger cars in May of this year.
At the same time that the coronavirus lockdown closed car showrooms, the UK new car market fell 89 per cent in May, with just over 20,000 vehicles delivered. However, the adoption of ‘click and collect’-style online ordering was one ray of light. Still, according to the SMMT data, in May 2020 the overall UK new car market was 163,477 units behind the same month last year. And therefore, the market is down more than 51 per cent in the first five months.
Heavy goods vehicle (HGV) registrations fell -22.5 per cent in the first quarter of 2020, with 9,193 units registered, according to Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) figures. Fluctuations in the sector’s naturally long fleet renewal cycle, together with lockdown measures introduced partway through March affected HGV registrations, rounding off the first three months of the year down some 2,666 units.
As far as the European Automobile Manufacturers Association (ACEA) is concerned, we can count Brexit as occurring from the start of this year – the association has already removed the UK from its passenger car registration figures for January 2020. Registrations for the slimmed-down EU27 region fell 7.5 per cent year-on-year, to 956,779 units. Registrations fell by a similar level on our side of the channel, with figures from the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) showing a 7.3 per cent decline in January, to 149,279 units.