UK new car registrations held steady at 68,858 in August, up 1.2% year-on-year during what is traditionally a quiet pre-plate change month.
According to the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders, last month’s growth was the first monthly improvement registered since February.
However, last month’s growth was still the weakest figure recorded since 2013, with the obvious exception of 2021, with supply chain pressures continuing to constrain the market.
Private new car registrations totalled 34,900 in August, slightly higher than 2021’s 33,800 print, while large fleet registrations fell by -1.6%, although this was offset by a 3.2% increase in deliveries to private consumers. Business customers saw the largest increase of 26.6%.
Overall growth in the month was primarily driven by battery electric vehicles, which recorded a 35.4% increase in volumes and a 14.5% market share, while plug-in hybrid registrations fell by -23.1% to comprise 5.6% of monthly registrations.
Year to date, registrations were down -10.7% year-on-year at 983,099 units – more than a third lower than during the first eight months of pre-pandemic 2019.
Pantheon Macroeconomics’ Gabriella Dickens said: “Looking ahead, car sales are unlikely to recover meaningfully for at least the next 12 months, even though the nascent recovery in supply should gather pace. Households’ real disposable incomes look set to drop sharply over the next year, unless the government takes the dramatic step of freezes energy bills at their current level.
“All told, then, we expect car sales to remain around 10% below their pre-Covid level until at least the second half of 2023.”
Reporting by Iain Gilbert at Sharecast.com