SMMT reports second worst sales figures in 30 year

The Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders says supply chain issues still depressing new car sales

By John Howell / Tuesday, 5 July 2022 / Loading comments

The supply issues in the automotive sector continue, and, worse still, they don’t look like being addressed any time soon. That’s according to the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT), which has just reported a dire set of sales numbers for June and the year-to-date. New car registrations fell 24.3 per cent in June, with 140,958 new vehicles registered – the worst performance for the month since 1996. So far this year, 802,079 new cars have been registered, which is an 11.9 per cent drop compared with last year, representing the second weakest half-year performance in 30 years.

You probably know the form by now: diesels were the worst hit (46.7 per cent down in June), followed by petrol sales (down 28.2 per cent), and even PHEVs took a hit last month (36.5 per cent under) results. BEVs are again the only winners, posting an uplift of 14.6 per cent for the month and 56 per cent on the YTD.

In terms of consumer sectors, large fleets saw the biggest dent, with a 27.6 per cent fall in registrations. Private purchases weren’t quite so depressed, with a more modest 21.7 per cent drop. This is because manufacturers are prioritising private buyers, and it leaves the fleet versus private split at around 50:50.

Some things never change, though. The Vauxhall Corsa was still the best-selling model in June (and for the year so far), followed by the Tesla Model Y, Mini, Nissan Qashqai and Volkswagen Golf rounding out the top five. The Ford Fiesta is notable by it’s absence, but it’s not all bad for Ford: the Puma is number two on the sales sheet for the YTD. 

The wider slowdown was predicted, but is even greater than expected. Supply chain shortages are still the main issue, hampering production of all models, but scrapping the plug-in car grant hasn’t helped – it leaves the UK as the only major European market without incentives for private EV buyers.

The SMMT’s Chief Executive, Mike Hawes, said, “The semiconductor shortage is stifling the new car market even more than last year’s lockdown. Electric vehicle demand continues to be the one bright spot, as more electric cars than ever take to the road, but while this growth is welcome it 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.”

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