Typically a quiet month like the car market, August 2021 was the second-best on record, with 20,582 new van registrations, Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders figures show. In the year to date the uptake of new vans is up 2.6 per cent on the pre-pandemic five-year average (although down -4.0 per cent on the same period in 2019). Despite a drop in sales in certain sectors of the light commercial vehicle market, vans have largely maintained good figures throughout the Covid-19 pandemic, an effect of booming last-mile delivery and mobile services. Several segments are currently enjoying the market entrance of new zero-emission and specialist models. Despite this buoyancy, the SMMT warned that the semi-conductor shortage is looming over the sector and is already affecting production and throttling new van sales.
Demand for electric cars has continued to surge even during a quiet August ahead of the registration plate change. The Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) figures show that even as new car registrations fell by -22.0 per cent, demand for battery electric (BEV), hybrid (HEV) and plug-in hybrid (PHEV) vehicles rose 32.2, 45.7 and 72.1 per cent respectively. Overall, the UK new car market is up 20.3 per cent versus Covid-hit 2020, though the pandemic remains a blight on the market due in part to chip shortages.
The UK new bus and coach market grew by 231.1 per cent in the second quarter after a near standstill in 2020, reports the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT). But although all vehicle types saw double- and even triple-digit increases on 2020, the market remains subdued.
New heavy goods vehicle (HGV) registrations increased by 128.7 per cent in the second quarter of 2021, according to figures released by the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT). The increase saw some 9,493 units registered, up from 5,342 in Covid-impacted 2020. Compared to the pre-pandemic five-year average, however, truck registrations fell 20.1 per cent, as nationwide lockdown and business uncertainty continued to discourage greater investment in new equipment.
The light commercial vehicle (LCV) market saw its first decline since December 2020 as July registrations fell -14.8 per cent, according to the latest figures from the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT). Supply issues – most notably of semiconductors – has meant only 23,606 vans were registered during the month. Despite this challenge, the month’s performance was only a moderate -4.0 per cent decline compared to the pre-pandemic five-year average.
July’s new car registrations fell by -29.5 per cent to 123,296 units, according to the latest figures from the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT). The decline was artificially heightened by comparison with the same month last year, when registrations rose dramatically as showrooms enjoyed a full month’s operation following the first 2020 lockdown.
A coalition of trade associations (including the NTDA) and commercial organisations (including Halfords and Kwik Fit) has been formed to lobby the UK government to uphold “the rights of the independent aftermarket and consumers in the post-Brexit era.” The UK Alliance for the Freedom of Car Repair (AFCAR), which derives its name from the European group of the same name, will primarily lobby on the Motor Vehicle Block Exemption Regulations (MV-BER), Vehicle Type Approval (including access to Repair & Maintenance Information) and Cybersecurity.
The buoyancy of the British van market post-lockdown is demonstrated by the swift rise in new van registrations in 2021. While certain goods and service industries have supported business continuity for van fleets during the pandemic – such as home delivery and mobile vehicle servicing – the rise in new van purchases demonstrates both confidence in the market and demand for newer, more efficient van technologies. This is good news for UK van tyre suppliers, with original equipment sales supported well in the short-term, and continuity of demand for the latest tyre models to suit new van technologies in the replacement stream, notably including electric vans.
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.
The Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) has launched a new plan to secure the future of Britain’s automotive manufacturing sector. The ‘Full Throttle: Driving UK Automotive Competitiveness’ strategy, commissioned by SMMT and written by Public First, sets out a “series of bold policy proposals” for this coming year and remainder of the decade, covering “all aspects essential to automotive industry competitiveness.”
Car registration figures may offer some relief for the embattled sector, but analysts have warned the recovery might be slower than first hoped. Andrew Burn, managing director and head of automotive at Interpath Advisory (formerly KPMG Restructuring), said of the May SMMT registration figures: “The latest registration figures will come as great relief to the sector given the tumultuous challenges it is grappling with. The numbers reflect the first full month of showroom openings, with volumes back to circa 2012 levels. The question now is where volumes will settle once we have moved beyond the pandemic and the new norms are established.
Sepi Arani, director of OEM at the UK’s largest new car marketplace and comparison site www.carwow.co.uk, gives his thoughts on the May SMMT car registration figures and the EV takeover: “It’s incredibly encouraging to see new car registrations on the rise and with EV’s taking a 13.8 per cent share of the registrations in 2021 so far, despite the naysayers, EV adoption is happening faster than many give credit for.”
With the year’s first full month of showroom openings, new car registrations in May reached 156,737 units, according to the latest figures from the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT). The total represents an almost eightfold increase on the same month last year, but is down -14.7 per cent on pre-pandemic May 2019, and -13.2 per cent on the 10-year May average.
The light commercial vehicle market recorded its busiest ever April as 30,440 new vans were registered, according to the latest figures from the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT). All vehicle segments saw artificially inflated growth rates relative to April 2020, when Covid restrictions shut down much of the economy, with an eight-fold increase in total units. Registrations were also well ahead of the five-year average, with April 2021 up by 23.2 per cent. With some 127,796 vans registered so far in 2021, uptake levels have returned to levels last seen in 2019.
April saw an artificial 30-fold increase of UK new car registrations compared to the same month last year, but volumes still remained -12.9 per cent lower than the 10-year average at just 141,583 new units, according to the latest figures released by the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT). This year’s monthly total dwarfed that recorded in April 2020, when the first national lockdown effectively shut the country, and just 4,321 cars were registered.