UK new car sales slump to lowest June in 26 years

New car registrations in the UK have fallen sharply, with production hit by ongoing shortages of essential components.

The latest monthly report from the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) shows that 140,958 new cars were registered in June 2022, down 24.3% year-on-year and the lowest level for June since 1996.

Manufacturers have had problems fulfilling demand due to a global shortage of semiconductors which has hampered production of all models.

Sales declined for all types of powertrain except battery electric vehicles (BEVs), which were up 14.6% and continued to gain market share — reaching 16.1%, up from 10.7% a year ago.

In total, plug-in vehicles comprised more than a fifth (21.6%) of all new cars joining the road in the month.

Across the first six months of the year, 107,894 fewer new cars have been registered compared with the same period last year — despite demand in 2021 being restricted by dealership lockdowns until April, with consumers only able to buy vehicles through click and collect.

“The semiconductor shortage is stifling the new car market even more than last year’s lockdown,” commented SMMT chief executive Mike Hawes.

“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.”