Car registrations fall -35.5% as lockdown squeezes

The UK new car market declined -35.5% in February as a traditionally weak month saw 28,282 fewer units registered for new vehicles. This comes from figures released today by the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT). With 51,312 new cars registered, the industry recorded the lowest acceptance in February since 1959.

With showrooms closed nationwide since January 5th – and in many parts of the country since December – demand in both the private and fleet sectors fell by -37.3% and -33.5%, respectively. Declines were recorded in all vehicle segments, with the exception of luxury sedans, which recorded an increase of 3.8% compared to a statistically very small market share.

Plug-in vehicles continued to grow. BEVs and PHEVs together achieved a market share of 13.0% in the course of the month, after only 5.7% in February 2020. BEV acceptance rose by 40.2% to 3,516 and PHEVs by 52.1% to 3,131. Industry promotes continue to offer a wide range of low-emission technologies to consumers However, the increasing introduction of these new technologies to the level required by 2030 remains a mammoth task. Yesterday’s budget presents a missed opportunity as no action has been taken to support the market as a whole, and in particular the transition from pure gasoline and diesel cars and vans.

The Chancellor responded more positively to the demands of the industry for an extension of the vacation, which is of decisive importance in view of the massive decline in vehicle demand. With the country facing persistent restrictions until at least April 12, the auto industry expects a challenging March, traditionally the sector’s most important month, which is usually one in five annual registrations.

While online ordering and click and collect can be a lifeline, showroom closings will make it significantly more difficult for merchants to fill order banks after fewer £ 23bn registrations since March 2020.2 As a result, SMMT has its market outlook revised to 1.83 million new registrations in 2021 from 1.89 million in January. Most of these losses are expected to occur in March.

Mike Hawes, Chief Executive of SMMT, said, “February is traditionally a small month for license plates. With the exhibition spaces closed for the duration, the decline is deeply disappointing, but is expected. More worrisome, however, these closings have stifled dealers’ preparations for March with the expectation that this will now be a third bleak “new record month” in a row. While we have a way out of the restrictions with the rapid adoption of vaccines and proven experience operating Click and Collect, it is important that the showrooms reopen as soon as possible in order for the industry to better rebuild and prevent the loss of Last year made up for 23 billion pounds. “

London Herald