New car sales in the UK rose by 1.2% in August from a year earlier, the first since February this year, boosted mainly by battery electric vehicle (BEV) sales according to data released by the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT).
The SMMT said that the registrations in August, which is considered a quiet month as buyers choose to wait for a ‘new’ numberplate in September, were up at 68,858 units from 68,033 units a year earlier.
The overall growth in the month was driven primarily by BEVs which recorded a 35.4% increase in volumes and a 14.5% market share. However, growth in this segment is slowing, with a year-to-date increase of 48.8%, whereas at the end of Q1, BEV registrations had been up by 101.9%.
Plug-in Hybrid (PHEV) registrations fell by -23.1% to comprise just 5.6% of monthly registrations. As a result, plug-in vehicles accounted for one in five (20.2%) of August’s registrations. Hybrid electric vehicle registrations remained relatively stable, falling by 0.7%.
“Spiralling energy costs and inflation on top of sustained supply chain challenges are piling even more pressure on the automotive industry’s post-pandemic recovery, and we urgently need the new Prime Minister to tackle these challenges and restore confidence and sustainable growth,” said Mike Hawes, SMMT Chief Executive.
Superminis remained the most popular vehicle class, growing market share to 34.0% as 7.4% more of them were delivered to customers than in August 2021. Multi-purpose, luxury saloon and lower medium vehicles also recorded growth of 31.0%, 1.5% and 1.3% respectively, while registrations of all other segments declined.
“With September traditionally a bumper time for new car uptake, the next month will be the true barometer of industry recovery as it accelerates the transition to zero emission mobility despite the myriad challenges,” Hawes added.