UK new car sales down 15.8 per cent in April

Fleet registrations down by a third, as manufacturers with limited stocks target higher-paying private buyers

Corsa-e

New car stock shortages stemming from the widely-publicised semi-conductor shortage, amplified by supply-chain disruptions arising from the war in Ukraine, meant UK sales fell by almost 16 per cent in April compared to the same period last year.

That’s notwithstanding the fact that showrooms were open for all of April 2022, after being partially shuttered due to Covid in April 2021. According to the Society of Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) which compiles the data, it’s fleets who have been hit hardest by the stock shortages, and corporate sales were down in April by more than a third.

That’s because high retail consumer demand meant manufacturers and dealers targeted the majority of the cars available at private buyers, who typically provide better margins. As a result, the private new car market saw a slight increase in April - sales were up 4.8 per cent.

As expected battery electric vehicles (BEVs) continue to make significant sales inroads, with close to 13,000 zero-emissions vehicles registered in April. That’s up 40.9 per cent on April 2021, giving BEVs a 10.8 per cent share of the new car market. Hybrid registrations rose by 18.3 per cent, but interestingly plug-in hybrid (PHEV) registrations dropped by a third. 

The SMMT says the tough economic outlook and ongoing global uncertainties around the war in Ukraine have caused it to lower its expectations for whole-year sales in 2022. It’s now suggesting the annual total will be 1.72m new cars, compared to the 1.89m it predicted in January.

That’s still up by around 4.5 per cent on 2021 sales, and the SMMT reckons plug-in cars will account for more than a quarter of sales this year overall.

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

Recommended

Tory no-show at ‘fair fuel prices’ debate sparked by 102k-signature petition
News

Tory no-show at ‘fair fuel prices’ debate sparked by 102k-signature petition

As the public calls for action, the treasury points to ‘savings’ from a 2010 fuel price escalator freeze
24 May 2022
Speeding to be recorded as a cause of many more car accidents
Police car on scene at accident
News

Speeding to be recorded as a cause of many more car accidents

New police guidance for reporting will see a big rise in speeding recorded as a cause of car crashes
17 May 2022
World’s car bosses fear supply chain crisis will slow electric car production
Production line
News

World’s car bosses fear supply chain crisis will slow electric car production

Leading industry figures warn of looming problems at Financial Times’ Car of the Future Summit.
13 May 2022
Privately owned e-scooters to be legalised for use on public roads
E-Scooters
Consumer news

Privately owned e-scooters to be legalised for use on public roads

Transport minister announces plans to create new vehicle category for e-scooters as part of upcoming Transport Bill
12 May 2022

Most Popular

Best motorhomes 2022: the top 5 picks for all budgets
Chausson motorhome
Tips & advice

Best motorhomes 2022: the top 5 picks for all budgets

In the market for a new motorhome? Here are our top-five recommendations...
18 May 2022
New all-electric Volkswagen Aero B saloon to rival Tesla Model 3
Volkswagen Aero B exclusive image - front
Volkswagen

New all-electric Volkswagen Aero B saloon to rival Tesla Model 3

The new four-door VW Aero B EV could come with up to 435 miles of range and our exclusive images preview how it could look
20 May 2022
New Kia Niro EV prototype review
Kia Niro EV  prototype - front
Kia Niro

New Kia Niro EV prototype review

We get behind the wheel of a pre-production prototype version of the 201bhp Kia Niro EV
22 May 2022