August is traditionally one of the quietest months of the year for new car registrations ahead of the plate-change in September, but this year’s figures were the weakest since August 2013 and down 7.6% against the average recorded over the last decade, the SMMT said.
On a positive note, demand for electric cars surged in August, with the latest battery electric (BEV), hybrid (HEV) and plug-in hybrid (PHEV) vehicles up by 32.2%, 45.7% and 72.1% respectively.
Demand for PHEVs has outpaced BEVs in five of the last six months since changes to the Plug-in Car Grant were introduced in March. There are now some 130 plug-in models on the market, with the range ever-increasing, the SMMT said.
In the year-to-date, new car registrations rose 20.3% compared to Covid-hit 2020, but the numbers are 25.3% lower than the 10-year average for the January-August period.
“While August is normally one of the quietest months for UK new car registrations these figures are still disappointing, albeit not wholly surprising,” said Mike Hawes, SMMT chief executive. “The global shortage of semiconductors has affected UK, and indeed global, car production volumes so new car registrations will inevitably be undermined.”
Hawes called for the government to continue the furlough scheme introduced to help businesses during the pandemic. The scheme is due to end on 30 September.
“Government can help by continuing the supportive Covid measures in place currently, especially the furlough scheme which has proven invaluable to so many businesses,” he said.
Read More: New car registrations continue to fall in August, but EV demand surges