New car sales: Weakest August since 2013

Published:  06 September, 2021

The global semiconductor shortage resulting from the pandemic has been contraining new car production volume, and has been cited a main reason behind new car sales for August being 22% down on 2020, making it the weakest August for new car sales since 2013.

The latest figures from the SMMT show that 68,033 cars were registered during the month, which is usally one of the quietest of the year for new car sales. As well as being lower than last year, August was also 7.6% below the monthly average for the last decade.

While overall sales were down, battery electric vehicle (BEV) sales shot up 32.2%, while hybrid vehicle (HEV) sales were up 45.7% and plug-in hybrid (PHEV) sales went up 72.1%.


Commenting on the figures, SMMT Chief Executive Mike Hawes said: “While August is normally one of the quietest months for UK new car registrations these figures are still disappointing, albeit not wholly surprising. The global shortage of semiconductors has affected UK, and indeed global, car production volumes so new car registrations will inevitably be undermined. Government can help by continuing the supportive Covid measures in place currently, especially the furlough scheme which has proven invaluable to so many businesses.”

NFDA Chief Executive Sue Robinson added: “It is encouraging to see that strong sales of electrified vehicles partly offset the monthly decline. Year to date, the market is 20% above last year, although the overall performance is not yet at pre-pandemic levels. August is traditionally a quiet month and we look forward to seeing what the plate change month of September has in store.”

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