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UK car registrations fall to weakest Sept in over two decades, EV sales have record month: SMMT


New car sales down 34.4% year on year in September

Semiconductor shortage, COVID-19 impact still impacting market

EV sales more than double on the year

New car registrations in the UK dropped 34.4% year on year in September to 215,312 units, the lowest September volume since 1998, despite 2020 experiencing stronger pandemic restrictions, according to data released Oct. 5 by the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders.

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"September is typically the second busiest month of the year for the industry, but with the ongoing shortage of semiconductors impacting vehicle availability, the 2021 performance was down some 44.7% on the pre-pandemic 10-year average," SMMT said.

Along with the ongoing shortage of semiconductors, the COVID-19 pandemic was also still having an impact on sales, SMMT CEO Mike Hawes said, adding that manufacturers were "taking every measure possible to maintain deliveries and customers can expect attractive offers on a range of new vehicles."

While gasoline and diesel cars fell 46.6% and 77.3% year on year, respectively, to 94,314 units and 10,658 units, sales of electric vehicles, including battery, plug-in hybrids and hybrids, more than doubled year on year to 71,566 units.

BEV sales reached a record high of 32,721 units in September, up 49.4% year on year and taking a 15.2% market share, up from 6.7% a year ago.

SMMT said the higher BEV sales reflected the wider range of models available and growing consumer appetite.

It added that the September BEV sales volume was "just over 5,000 shy of the total number registered during the whole of 2019."

PHEV sales also climbed 11.5% on the year to 13,884 units, a 6.4% market share, up from 3.8% in September 2020. However, HEV sales dropped 5.1% year on year to 24,961 units, although their market share rose from 8% a year ago to 11.6% in September.

Gasoline cars kept their majority market share of 43.8%, but this was down from 53.8% a year ago, while diesel sales only made up 5% of the whole market, down from 14.4% in September 2020.

According to the SMMT data, the Tesla Model 3 was the best-selling car during September, followed by the Vauxhall Corsa and the BMW 3 Series.

"The rocketing uptake of plug-in vehicles, especially battery electric cars, demonstrates the increasing demand for these new technologies. However, to meet our collective decarbonization ambitions, we need to ensure all drivers can make the switch -- not just those with private driveways -- requiring a massive investment in public recharging infrastructure. Chargepoint roll-out must keep pace with the acceleration in plug-in vehicle registrations," Hawes said.

EV sales are likely to increase further in the coming months, with the UK's ongoing fuel crisis making plug-in vehicles increasingly attractive to consumers.