The National Franchised Dealers Association argues that there is cause for optimism in the new car sector based on strong consumer demand, despite a disappointing 1 per cent increase in new car registrations in 2021. Chief executive Sue Robinson said: “A poll conducted by NFDA revealed that 78.6 per cent of franchised vehicle dealers are optimistic about the level of demand in the year ahead as consumer confidence improves while we move through the pandemic and the electrification of the UK car parc continues apace.
2021 UK car sales were stalled by Covid and its impact on the supply chain, the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders explains. 1.65 million new cars were registered in an increase of just 1.0 per cent on pandemic-ravaged 2020, making it the second-worst year since 1992. Sales were -28.7 per cent below pre-Covid levels thanks to headwinds, which included the semiconductor shortage. However, figures did show that the transition to electric cars is proceeding quickly. More than one in six registrations were plug-in, while battery electric cars alone rose to one in nine. Overall, the SMMT notes that this means more BEVs (Battery Electric Vehicles) were registered than in 2016-2020 combined. The society added that the UK auto industry is calling for the government to extend incentives and mandate chargepoint targets. It argues that the UK needs to accelerate consumer uptake of EVs, maintaining the country’s attractiveness against competitor markets.
Last year, new car registrations grew by a marginal 1.0 per cent on a pandemic-ravaged 2020, as 1.65 million new cars entered the UK market. Figures released by the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) underline the ongoing impact of Covid and the semiconductor shortage on the industry, with the market down 28.7 per cent on pre-pandemic 2019, representing the second worst year since 1992.
New car registrations grew 1.7 per cent year-on-year in November, bringing an end to four months of consecutive decline, with the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) reporting 115,706 units registered. However, this must be viewed in the context of a weak 2020, when lockdowns impacted registrations, including November. Compared to the pre-pandemic average, the market remains down significantly, with 31.3 per cent fewer vehicles registered during the month.
This year the light commercial vehicle (LCV) market recorded the best November in its history, with figures released by the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) showing 31,320 new vans registered during the month.
UK commercial vehicle production increased to 7,892 units in October, according to figures released by the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT). October’s 17.2 per cent growth in output, the highest uplift since June this year, follows a weak October 2020 where operators delayed fleet renewal due to issues relating to the pandemic and uncertainty over a no-deal Brexit.
The Society of Motor Manufacturers & Traders (SMMT) has appointed Alison Jones, Stellantis senior vice-president and country manager UK, as its new president. Jones’ appointment to the role of president, which takes effect 1 January 2022, follows a year-long tenure as vice-president at the SMMT, where she contributed to the organisation’s direction and strategy.
The UK new bus and coach market fell by 19.8 per cent in the third quarter of 2021. The Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) calls this result “a deeply disappointing decline following a 2020 performance devastated by Covid.”
Registrations of new heavy goods vehicles (HGV) declined 8.4 per cent in the third quarter of 2021. According to figures released by the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT), the decrease saw 7,715 trucks registered, some 704 fewer than the Q3 2020 total, which itself was volatile due to the effects of the pandemic. It was also down 9.8 per cent on a particularly weak pre-pandemic total in 2019, which saw orders pulled forward into the second quarter of the year ahead of the introduction of new smart tachograph regulations.
New car registrations fell in October for the fourth consecutive month, with the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) reporting a 24.6 per cent decline to 106,265 units compared with October last year. The market’s monthly performance was the weakest seen since October 1991; demand from large fleets fell by 40.4 per cent, driving most of the decline. Private demand declined by just 3.3 per cent, but SMMT points out that consumer uptake during the pandemic-affected October 2020 was weak as well.
New plug-in vehicle uptake rates have accelerated so rapidly that the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) forecasts more of these joining Britain’s roads in 2021 than during the whole of the last decade. It expects that around 287,000 zero-emission cars will be added to the UK car parc this year, a figure equalling around one-sixth of all new cars. A total of just 271,962 new battery electric and plug-in hybrid vehicles (BEVs & PHEVs) were registered between 2010 and 2019. Furthermore, current forecasts suggest that BEV registrations will exceed those of diesel by the end of 2022.
UK car production fell 41.5 per cent in September, the third consecutive month of decline, with 67,169 cars manufactured – the worst performing September since 1982 – according to the latest figures released this week by the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT).
TyreSafe has calculated that UK motorists waste more than £600 million worth of fuel due to tyre underinflation. Using data from Michelin’s Fill Up With Air survey showing that 57 per cent of vehicles are driven on underinflated tyres, as well as information sourced from the Department for Transport and the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders, TyreSafe is tying the economic argument for ensuring tyres are correctly inflated alongside safety concerns for this year’s Tyre Safety Month. Referring both to the general awareness of tyres as a vital safety component and rhetorically to question why drivers would not check their tyres at least once a month, his year’s October campaign asks Britain’s motorists directly: “What’s Stopping You?”
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.