Car sales reverse five-month decline

The UK new car market grew for the first time since February in August, according to the latest figures from the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT).

It found the market grew by 1.2% with some 68,858 new vehicles joining the road.

Overall growth in the month was driven primarily by battery electric vehicles (BEVs), which recorded a 35.4% increase in volumes and a 14.5% market share. However, growth in this segment is slowing, with a year-to-date increase of 48.8% compared to 101.9% increase in the first quarter.

Year to date, registrations are down by 10.7% on last year at 983,099 units and more than a third (35.3%) lower than during the first eight months of pre-pandemic 2019.

Mike Hawes, SMMT chief executive, said: “August’s new car market growth is welcome, but marginal during a low volume month. Spiralling energy costs and inflation on top of sustained supply chain challenges are piling even more pressure on the automotive industry’s post-pandemic recovery, and we urgently need the new Prime Minister to tackle these challenges and restore confidence and sustainable growth. With September traditionally a bumper time for new car uptake, the next month will be the true barometer of industry recovery as it accelerates the transition to zero emission mobility despite the myriad challenges.”