Monday, 24 January, 2022

UK new car sales edge up

LONDON: British new car registrations rose for the first time in five months in November as battery electric vehicle (BEV) uptake doubled.

However, the market still remains well adrift of pre-coronavirus pandemic levels, report agencies.

Sales increased 1.7 per cent in November, compared with the same month a year ago, with 115,700 cars registered, according to the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders. However, that is still 31 per cent below the pre-pandemic five-year average.

However, the green technology revolution continued to change the market, with the proportion of BEV registrations doubling to 18.8 per cent of the total in November, from 9.1 per cent a year ago.

SMMT chief executive Mike Hawes said what appears to be a positive performance belies the underlying weakness of the market. “Demand is there, with a slew of new, increasingly electrified models launched but the global shortage of semiconductors continues to bedevil production and, therefore, new car registrations,” he said.

The slight increase in UK car sales contrasts with continued declines in Europe’s largest markets such as Germany, France and Spain, while around the world, car makers have struggled with semiconductor and other supply shortages that have hampered output and forced some factories to halt production.

Despite the challenges, the switch to green cars is accelerating with Britain’s production of the latest battery electric, plug-in hybrid and hybrid vehicles, accounting for about a third of all cars made in the country, according to September figures from the SMMT.

Plug-in cars accounted for about 28 per cent of the sales market in November, the SMMT said, when you include plug-in hybrid vehicles’ (PHEVs), whose market share grew to 9.3 per cent or 10,796 units.

This year, about 1.54 million new cars have been registered, of which 17.5 per cent have been BEVs or PHEVs, meaning one in six new cars is capable of being plugged in.

When combined with hybrid electric vehicles, more than a quarter of the new car market during 2021 has been electrified.

Despite this uptake in demand for green vehicles, the pace of on-street public charging infrastructure is lagging behind, with the number of plug-in cars potentially sharing a public on-street charger deteriorating to 16, from 11, between 2019 and 2020 and only one standard on-street public charger installed for every 52 new plug-in cars registered over the course of this year.