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September 6, 2022

New car sales break falling streak after five months

The new car market in the UK ended its consecutive decline after five months in August, the latest figures show. 

According to the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT), last month, the new car market rose by 1.2% in comparison with August 2021. 

During the period under review, some 68,858 new vehicles hit the streets in the first monthly growth since February this year. 

Barring 2021, August volumes were the weakest for the month since 2013 due to supply chain constraints.

Large fleet registrations fell by 1.6%. In contrast, there was a 3.2% increase in deliveries to private consumers.

Notably, battery electric vehicles (BEVs) drove the overall growth during the month with a 35.4% increase in volumes and a 14.5% market share but the growth in this segment is slowing. 

New car sales are down by more than a third (35.3%) during 2022 in comparison with the same period of pre-pandemic 2019. 

SMMT chief executive Mike Hawes said: “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. 

“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.”

Things did not look so bright for the UK’s light commercial vehicle (LCV) market, which fell by 24.6% to 15,520 units in August. 

The LCV registrations have continued to fall every month of 2022 and August registration volumes were the lowest recorded since 2017.

According to the SMMT, global supply chain challenges and economic turmoil have contributed to the fall in sales.

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