New-car market hit by “long Covid” as sales struggle

June’s registration figures show a 28 per cent rise over 2020, but sales still down 16.4 per cent on 10-year average

Tesla Model 3 - front

The UK’s new-car market is suffering from “long Covid” due to a shortage of semiconductor chips, according to the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT). 

June’s figures show while new-car registrations rose 28 per cent compared to the same month last year (when sales were down by 34.9 per cent), they remain depressed by 16.4 per cent compared to the 10-year average for the month. A total of 186,128 new cars were registered in June, with the Tesla Model 3 topping the best-sellers’ chart, followed by the Volkswagen Golf and Ford Puma.

The SMMT’ chief executive, Mike Hawes, said car makers are suffering with a “‘long Covid’ of vehicle supply challenges”, which have seen them struggle to deliver new models to showrooms. Lockdown restrictions and increased demand from the consumer electronics industry has seen car makers struggle to source the semiconductor chips that are vital to the functioning of modern cars. 

For those who were able to source a new car last month, 10.7 per cent chose a pure EV, 66 per cent went for a petrol car (including mild hybrids), while 8.1 per cent opted for diesel, 8.7 per cent chose a conventional hybrid, and 6.5 per cent went plug-in hybrid.  

Hawes sounded a cautious note of optimism over last month’s figures, saying: “rebuilding for the next decade is now well underway with investment in local battery production beginning and a raft of new electrified models in showrooms.”

He added: “With the end of domestic restrictions later this month looking more likely, business and consumer optimism should improve further, fuelling increased spending, especially as the industry looks towards September and advanced orders for the next plate change.”

Thinking of buying an electric, petrol or hybrid car? Read our buying guide to help you along the way...

Recommended

Driving licence body faces huge backlog cases due to strikes and Covid disruption
Driving licence
News

Driving licence body faces huge backlog cases due to strikes and Covid disruption

Some drivers have been unable to get on the road due to 1.4 million DVLA applications waiting to be processed
22 Jul 2021
Geneva Motor Show rescheduled for 2022
Geneva
Geneva Motor Show

Geneva Motor Show rescheduled for 2022

The GIMS organisers have announced the event will return next year, after this year’s show was cancelled due to the coronavirus pandemic
28 May 2021
UK car production on the mend but not fully recovered
Production line
News

UK car production on the mend but not fully recovered

A total of 68,306 cars were built in the UK in April 2021, up 34,573 per cent from last year’s factory shutdowns, but still short of pre-Covid levels
26 May 2021
UK Driving tests restart but learner drivers face long waits
Driving test

UK Driving tests restart but learner drivers face long waits

Learner drivers in the UK face a 17-week wait between booking and taking their practical driving test
22 Apr 2021

Most Popular

New 2021 Volkswagen Taigo coupe-SUV breaks cover
Volkswagen Taigo R-Line - front
Volkswagen Taigo

New 2021 Volkswagen Taigo coupe-SUV breaks cover

The new VW Taigo is a sportier, more aggressive looking version of the brand’s T-Cross and is aimed at lifestyle buyers
29 Jul 2021
New Bowler Defender Challenge review
Bowler Defender Challenge - front
Land Rover Defender

New Bowler Defender Challenge review

The new Defender Challenge is the first Bowler under JLR ownership, and it’s a cracker
28 Jul 2021
New 2021 Kia EV6 boasts up to 328 miles of range
Kia EV6 - front
Kia EV6

New 2021 Kia EV6 boasts up to 328 miles of range

Kia reveals more specs for its bespoke electric car, with the EV6 offering long range and an 18-minute 80 per cent rapid recharge time
21 Jul 2021