UK new car sales fell to their second weakest May in three decades as lack of consumer confidence and supply chain choke points weighed on expensive purchases.
Just 124,000 cars were registered in May this year, the lowest in three decades, barring the pandemic-induced lows of 2020.
The closely watched Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) index suggests that persistent supply problems – with electric batteries and other key parts currently in short supply – are now being accompanied by falling demand , as potential buyers are deterred from buying high value. articles in the context of an ongoing crisis in the cost of living.
The AA Cars boss said the combination threatened a “perfect storm” for new car sales.
James Fairclough also warned that supply problems were not a short-term phenomenon.
“Supply issues show little sign of easing as lockdowns in China and war in Ukraine exacerbate shortages of key materials like steel and semiconductors, and dampen auto production levels,” he said. he said yesterday.
Traders have seen an increase in battery electric vehicle sales, up nearly 20% year-on-year.
SMMT chief executive Mike Hawes said the performance of new, greener cars on the market was one of the “few bright spots” in the data.
To build on this momentum and stimulate a robust mass market for these vehicles, we need to ensure that every buyer has the confidence to go electric. This requires accelerating the deployment of accessible charging infrastructure to meet the growing number of plug-in vehicles,” he said yesterday.
In separate data, the SMMT also confirmed that minivan sales ended May in their fifth consecutive month of decline, with the market more than a fifth smaller than in the period immediately before the pandemic.