UK new car sales see weakest March since 1998

Busy traffic as seen on the M3 motorway heading towards the English coast near Southampton, Britain August 7, 2020. REUTERS/Toby Melville

Join now for FREE unlimited access to Reuters.com

Register

April 5 (Reuters) – Britain’s new car registrations fell 14% to record the weakest March since 1998 as shortages of semiconductors continued to hit car supply, although demand for vehicles battery-powered electric vehicles hit an all-time high, industry data showed on Tuesday.

Soaring inflation in Britain, compounded by rising fuel prices, could also affect demand for new cars, while the Russia-Ukraine conflict could further strain automotive supply chains, said said the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT).

“Given that approximately 20% of total annual registrations are typically recorded in March, the result is extremely disappointing for the sector and underscores the long-term impact of the pandemic on the industry,” SMMT said in a statement. communicated.

Join now for FREE unlimited access to Reuters.com

Register

A shortage of chips, stemming from supply issues during the pandemic and growing demand for consumer electronics, has badly hit the auto industry, with missing crucial parts hampering the production of new cars.

Battery electric vehicles (EVs), however, had their best month ever, with registrations in March exceeding those for all of 2019.

The SMMT said 39,315 new zero-emission cars left dealerships last month, up 79% from a year earlier and representing almost a sixth of the car market.

“There was already massive growth in this segment and, in fact, demand for electric vehicles is now even stronger as pump prices rise due to the Ukraine crisis,” said Ian Plummer, Market Director. online automobile Auto Trader.

The slump in new car sales in the UK to 243,479 units in March also impacted first quarter figures, with overall registrations for the first three months of 2022 falling 1.9%.

Join now for FREE unlimited access to Reuters.com

Register

Reporting by Yadarisa Shabong in Bengaluru; Editing by Anil D’Silva and Uttaresh.V

Our standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.