UK new car sales fell 15.8% in April


New car stock shortages resulting from the widely publicized shortage of semiconductors, amplified by supply chain disruptions resulting from the war in Ukraine, led to a drop in UK sales of almost 16% in April compared to the same period last year.

This notwithstanding that showrooms were open for the whole of April 2022, having been partially closed due to Covid in April 2021. According to the Society of Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) which compiles the data, this are the fleets that have been hardest hit by the stock-outs and business sales fell in April by more than a third.

Indeed, strong consumer demand at retail meant that manufacturers and dealers targeted the majority of cars available from private buyers, who typically offer better margins. As a result, the private new car market saw a slight increase in April – sales increased by 4.8%.

As expected, battery electric vehicles (BEVs) continue to make significant inroads in sales, with nearly 13,000 zero-emission vehicles registered in April. This represents a 40.9% increase from April 2021, giving BEVs a 10.8% share of the new car market. Hybrid registrations increased by 18.3%, but interestingly, plug-in hybrid (PHEV) registrations fell by a third.

The SMMT says the difficult economic outlook and continued global uncertainties around the war in Ukraine have led it to lower its full-year sales expectations in 2022. It now suggests the annual total will be 1 .72 million new cars, compared to 1.89 million. scheduled for January.

This still represents an increase of around 4.5% over 2021 sales, and the SMMT estimates that plug-in cars will account for more than a quarter of sales this year overall.

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