UK new car sales slump to worst June in 26 years


The UK car industry has been hit by its worst June for new car sales since 1996.

Registrations of new cars plummeted about 24% last month compared with June 2021, according to preliminary figures from the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT).

Manufacturers have had problems fulfilling orders due to global shortages of semiconductors, the trade body said.

Drivers are facing wait times of more than a year for some models.

During the first half of 2022, only about 800,000 new cars were sold – a 12% fall when compared with the same period last year.

This represents the industry’s second weakest performance from January to June since 1992.

Jim Holder, editorial director of magazine and website What Car?, said car buyers have been dealing with delayed orders and increased prices as manufacturers pass on the cost of rising energy bills.

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“The result is longer waiting times on cars which will cost more to buy,” he warned.

Growing demand for electric cars

Electric cars are making up a growing proportion of sales.

Some 16% of new cars registered in June were pure electric, compared with 11% in the same month last year, according to separate figures from green motoring consultancy New AutoMotive.

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Ben Nelmes, co-founder of New AutoMotive, said rising petrol and diesel prices are “driving consumers towards electric cars” but the supply of vehicles “cannot keep pace with demand”.

“We hear that delivery times for electric cars are now between 40 weeks and a year,” he said.

“The supply of electric vehicles is the biggest barrier to cleaner road transport in the UK.”

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Manufacturers will be required to sell a certain percentage of zero emission vehicles and vans from 2024.

Mr Nelmes urged ministers to ensure that level is higher than the 22% proposed for cars to “attract more electric vehicles to the UK”.

Sales of new petrol and diesel cars will be prohibited from 2030 as part of the UK’s plan to reach net zero for carbon emissions by 2050.

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