After five successive months of declining sales, it is reported that new car registrations rose 1.2% in August to 68,858 units. Traditionally, August is a quiet month for registrations with many buyers waiting for the plate-change in September.

The SMMT highlighted that August volumes were still the worst performing for the month, except for 2021, since 2013. Supply chain pressures were blamed for the continued market constraints. Large fleet registrations declined by -1.6%, although this was offset by a 3.2% increase in deliveries to private consumers as manufacturers targeted more profitable retail business.

Overall growth in the month was attributed to battery electric vehicles (BEVs), which recorded a 35.4% increase in volumes and a 14.5% market share. Growth in this sector is slowing however, with a year-to-date increase of 48.8% compared with an increase of 101.9% at the end of Q1.

Plug-in Hybrid (PHEV) registrations fell by -23.1% to comprise 5.6% of monthly registrations. As a result, plug-in vehicles accounted for one in five (20.2%) of August’s registrations. Hybrid electric vehicle registrations remained relatively stable, falling by -0.7%. Year to date, registrations are down by -10.7% on 2021 at 983,099 units. This represents a decline of just over a third (-35.3%) compared with the first eight months of pre-pandemic 2019.

Mike Hawes, SMMT chief executive, said, “August’s new car market growth is welcome, but marginal during a low volume month. With September traditionally a bumper time for new car uptake, the next month will be the true barometer of industry recovery as it accelerates the transition to zero emission mobility despite the myriad challenges.”