UK new car registrations fell 24.3% in June, the weakest performance for the month since 1996, according to the latest figures by the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT).
The month saw 140,958 new vehicles registered, the data showed. Year to date registrations reached 802,079 units, down 11.9% from last year’s tally, and the second weakest first half in 30 years.
However, new registrations for battery electric vehicles (BEVs) in June increased 14.6%, growing overall market share with 3 in every 20 cars being a BEV, up from one in 10 for the previous year.
Tesla’s Model Y sold so well in June that it was the second bestselling vehicle for the month across all fuel types and has even entered the top ten for year-to-date sales.
Conversely, plug-in hybrid electric vehicle (PHEV) uptake fell by 4,425 units in June to take a 5.5% market share, the auto sector’s representative body said. In total, plug-in vehicles comprised more than a fifth (21.6%) of new cars joining the road in the month, while adding in HEVs brings the total to 32.2%.
All other powertrains saw declines in registration volumes and market share apart from hybrid electric vehicles (HEVs), which have seen volume drop but share increase.
“The semiconductor shortage is stifling the new car market even more than last year’s lockdown,” said Mike Hawes, SMMT Chief Executive. EV demand continues to be the one bright spot, as more electric cars than ever take to the road, he said, adding this growth is not yet enough to offset weak overall volumes, which has huge implications for fleet renewal and our ability to meet overall carbon reduction targets.
“With motorists facing rising fuel costs, however, the switch to an electric car makes ever more sense and the industry is working hard to improve supply and prioritise deliveries of these new technologies given the savings they can afford drivers,” the SMMT chief said.
Declines were most significant in large fleets, which recorded a 27.6% fall in registrations, while private consumer volumes dropped by a more modest 21.7%. The ongoing shortages were exacerbated by pandemic restrictions in China as a result global vehicle production has struggled to keep up with demand throughout 2022, the SMMT said. The scrappage of the plug-in car grant means the UK is now the only major European market without purchase incentives for private EV buyers, it added.
“With EVs now making up around a third of all vehicle registrations, it’s really exciting to see demand continue, despite ongoing vehicle supply shortages,” said Jon Lawes, Managing Director, Novuna Vehicle Solutions, one of the largest vehicle leasing and fleet management services in the UK, currently operating more than 70,000 vehicles.
The MD said it was a good time to switch to an EV particularly via generous salary sacrifice schemes where they are seeing a huge demand from customers seeking to help their employees join the EV revolution.