UK car industry sees weakest July since 1998

Despite a fall in the total car registrations, the bumper growth in plug-in vehicles continued, including battery electric vehicles and plug-in hybrids

Representative image
Representative image


New car registration in the UK has witnessed the weakest July since 1998, declining by 29.5 per cent year-on-year amid continuing shortages of semiconductors and staff, the British Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) said in a report.

In July, 123,296 new cars were registered, some 29.5 per cent lower than the same month 2020 and also down 22.3 per cent on the average July level recorded over the past decade (from 2010 to 2019), Xinhua news agency quoted the SMMT report released on Thursday as saying.

"The automotive sector continues to battle against shortages of semiconductors and staff, which is throttling our ability to translate a strengthening economic outlook into a full recovery," said Mike Hawes, chief executive of the SMMT.

Despite a fall in the total car registrations, the bumper growth in plug-in vehicles continued, with battery electric vehicles (BEVs) accounting for 9.0 per cent of registrations and plug-in hybrids (PHEVs) reaching 8.0 per cent, said the SMMT.

The latest SMMT outlook has been revised downward and now forecasts registrations to reach around 1.82 million units in 2021, said the SMMT.

"This is still some 11.7 percent up on 2020, but down from the 1.86 million forecast in April, and down around 21.8 percent on the average new car market recorded over the past decade," said the SMMT.

"The next few weeks will see changes to self-isolation policies which will hopefully help those companies across the industry dealing with staff absences, but the semiconductor shortage is likely to remain an issue until at least the rest of the year," said Hawes.

He said the bright side of the industry in the country "remains the increasing demand for electrified vehicles as consumers respond in ever greater numbers to these new technologies, driven by increased product choice, fiscal and financial incentives and an enjoyable driving experience".

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