Dealerships must lower their usual requirements for stock as supply issues are likely to affect the new car market into 2022, according to Cox Automotive’s monthly market tracker.

The tracker found that in August 2021, the imbalance between supply and demand was driving up prices. It also showed CAP clean performance achieving 100% and the highest-ever rate of first-time conversions at 87%. The average age and mileage are also higher at by 18% and 13%, respectively, compared to August 2020.

The average sold price is the only performance indicator that saw a slight decrease of 0.4% compared to 2020. However, Cox Automotive attributes this to a busier-than-normal August last year as showrooms reopened post-lockdown.

According to Philip Nothard, insight and strategy director at Cox Automotive, this means that highly sought-after vehicles are becoming more expensive and, with higher mileage and age than normal.

Nothard explained: “We are operating in a market starved of stock. While wholesalers are doing their utmost to keep supply flowing, the general profile of available vehicles is typically older and higher mileage than most would desire.

“However, this is no time to be picky, and it is important that dealers compromise in order to obtain stock. Previously, condition and ready-to-retail have been the key drivers for price performance; our data shows that most vehicles at all grades are finding homes to fill spaces on forecourts and websites throughout the past few months. Stock is moving fast, and there’s no time to wait around.”

The electric vehicle (EV) market had another month of growth, with demand for the latest battery electric, hybrid and plug-in hybrid vehicles up by 32.2%, 45.7% and 72.1%, respectively. Following March’s changes to the Plug-in Car Grant, demand for plug-in hybrids outpaced battery electric vehicles in five of the past six months.

The UK’s new vehicle registration figures for August reflect wider trends across Europe as a result of increased pressure on supply chains. Spain and Italy were the worst affected countries, with France showing stronger signs of recovery than the UK despite still recording a 15% drop in new vehicle registrations.

Nothard said the net few months will be crucial for dealers and manufacturers, as other global events are likely to impact the market: “Further challenges lurk around the corner. The UK faces delay from the EU-UK Trade and Cooperation Agreement (TCA) and distribution is also being impacted by much publicised driver shortages within the logistics sector. OEMs will overcome these challenges, but it will take time – and until then, the used market will continue to experience unusually high demand.”