New car sales: Weakest July since 1998

Published:  05 August, 2021

The combined onslaught of the pingdemic and the ongoing worldwide semiconductor shortage managed to push new car sales down by 29.5% compared with 2020, making it the weakest July since 1998, according to the latest figures from the SMMT.

123,296 new cars were sold during July, compared with 1734887 during the same month in 2020. The decline also reflected the fact that July 2020 was the first full month of opening last year after the end of the first lockdown, when sales shot up. When compared with the average over the last decade, sales were 22.3% down.
Battery electric vehicles (BEVs) accounting for 9.0% of registrations, while plug-in hybrids (PHEVs) reached 8.0%. All

The SMMT’s forecast for 2021 has been reduced, with total new car sales for the year now expected to be 1.82 million. It is expected that BEVs will make up 9.5% of registrations, with PHEVs adding a further 6.5% of the market, rounding up to around 290,000 cars.

SMMT Chief Executive Mike Hawes commented: “The automotive sector continues to battle against shortages of semiconductors and staff, which is throttling our ability to translate a strengthening economic outlook into a full recovery. The next few weeks will see changes to self-isolation policies which will hopefully help those companies across the industry dealing with staff absences, but the semiconductor shortage is likely to remain an issue until at least the rest of the year. As a result, we have downgraded the market outlook slightly for 2021. The bright spot, however, remains the increasing demand for electrified vehicles as consumers respond in ever greater numbers to these new technologies, driven by increased product choice, fiscal and financial incentives and an enjoyable driving experience.”

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