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.
With car showrooms opening today (12 April), The UK automotive retail sector signalled its readiness to get showrooms up and running with the publication of new, updated sector-specific guidance by the National Franchised Dealers Association (NFDA) and Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) to ensure all premises are safe spaces for employees, customers and other visitors.
SMMT figures show that the new light commercial vehicle market grew by 85.5 per cent in March with 56,122 vans joining UK roads with the ’21 new number plate. Usually one of the busiest months of the year, March saw the largest-ever increase since the switch to the two plate system in 1999, but one which still represented an -10.9 per cent decrease when compared to the pre-pandemic 2015-2019 average, as prolonged nationwide lockdown continued to suppress business confidence in the first quarter of the year.
The car registration data from the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) for the month of March shows that the UK new car market recorded its first ‘growth’ since August 2020, with 29,280 more units registered during March compared to the same month last year. However, the month represents the anniversary of the first lockdown in March 2020, when the pandemic brought Britain to a standstill and registrations fell by -44.4 per cent.
UK commercial vehicle (CV) production declined -45.4 per cent in February, with 4,308 units built, according to the latest figures released by the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT). CV manufacturing entered its fifth consecutive month of decline as supply chain shortages, new customs processes and prolonged lockdown measures across the globe affected output, resulting in the worst February on record.
The UK new light commercial vehicle market grew by 22.0 per cent in the second month of the year, according to the latest figures released by the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT). Usually one of the year’s weaker months as many operators wait for the new March number plate, 2021 saw the strongest February since 1998, with 17,205 new models hitting UK roads as demand from the construction sector and online deliveries drove new vehicle uptake.
The UK new car market declined by -35.5 per cent in February as 28,282 fewer units were registered during a traditionally weak month for new vehicle uptake, according to figures from the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT). The industry recorded its lowest February uptake since 1959, with 51,312 new cars registered.
According to figures from the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT), UK car production fell 27.3 per cent year-on-year in January to 86,052 units. This is the worst January performance since 2009, when UK factories made just 61,404 cars, and the drop of 32,262 units represents the 17th consecutive month of decline. The SMMT attributes January’s weak output to multiple factors, including the ongoing effects of the pandemic, global supply chain issues, extended shutdowns and friction in the new trading arrangements following the end of the Brexit transition period.
According to the SMMT, in the last year, sales of pure electric vehicles (EVs) have risen by 185.9 per cent and, as of September 2020, more than 164,100 EVs are on the road. EV registrations have been growing every year since 2013, which means that it’s now not uncommon for an EV to be entering the workshop, so technicians need to be prepared for these complex vehicles. To accommodate this growing sector and to ensure that they are able to fit the parts with confidence from a reputable supplier, repairers can rest assured that First Line Ltd supplies an extensive range for EV components and has done for years.
The UK new light commercial vehicle (LCV) market enjoyed growth in the first month of the year, according to the latest figures from the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders. Registrations rose 2.0 per cent in January with 24,029 of the latest, low emission vehicles hitting UK roads as new models and deals drove fleet renewal. Although the fluctuating nature of fleet renewal often impacts the first month of the year in particular, 2021 opened with the highest volume January since 1990, 10.5 per cent ahead of five-year average.
Despite the gloomy January figures, there are signs of optimism in the UK car industry. Sue Robinson, Chief Executive of the National Franchised Dealers Association (NFDA), which represents franchised car and commercial vehicle retailers in the UK, said that the steep fall in sales was expected as a result of the January lockdown, but she went on: “Retailers are optimistic about the year ahead, provided that dealerships will be allowed to reopen as soon as it is safe to do so.”