New car sales fell over a fifth last month in the weakest August for sales since 2013, new data from the Society for Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) showed today.
Just 68,033 models were registered last month in what is traditionally one of the slowest periods for sales.
However, sales were down 7.6 per cent on the decade average, with the ongoing semiconductor shortage hampering production of new vehicles.
For the year to date, there have been 1,101,302 new registrations, up 20.3 per cent on 2020, when showrooms were shut for months at a time.
Electric vehicles made up 15 per cent of total sales so far this year, the data showed.
But compared to a 10-year average for the industry, new car sales are down 25.3 per cent.
“While August is normally one of the quietest months for UK new car registrations these figures are still disappointing, albeit not wholly surprising”, SMMT chief executive Mike Hawes said.
“The global shortage of semiconductors has affected UK, and indeed global, car production volumes so new car registrations will inevitably be undermined.
“Government can help by continuing the supportive Covid measures in place currently, especially the furlough scheme which has proven invaluable to so many businesses.”
Dealers are now looking ahead to September, which is usually a key month for sales due to the introduction of the new number plate.
Ian Plummer, commercial director at Auto Trader, said that though there were signs of strong demand in the market the supply crisis would likely hamper sales this month.
“On the surface, all our demand-side metrics are pointing towards a very positive September; not only have we seen the largest August on record for the number of cross platform visits to the Auto Trader marketplace (70.2 million), but the number of new car leads sent to retailers hit an all-time record in August proving that there are certainly plenty of car buyers hunting their next new car.
“However, while this may well help to build retailer order banks for future deliveries, the frustrating reality is that it’s likely the September market will fall well short of matching this strong demand with enough new car supply due to the ongoing global shortage of semi-conductors”, he said.