New auto industry suffers from ‘gloomy’ 2021 with sluggish recovery
Demand for new cars in the UK grew only 1% last year despite an increase in electric vehicles, new figures show.
About 1.65 million new cars were registered in 2021, up from 1.63 million the year before, the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) said.
It’s a “grim picture” and “not what we expected,” said SMMT chief executive Mike Hawes.
He blamed the industry’s failure to stage a stronger recovery from 2020 – its worst year since 1992 – on the global semiconductor shortage and the impact of the pandemic.
Mr Hawes said: “The first half of the year has been on hold and despite the click and the online collection, and the industry that really stepped up to make it happen, the start of the year has always been difficult.”
He said things “have not improved significantly” over the past six months “due to supply shortages”.
“We believe the demand is still there,” he said.
“The demand is still strong.
“The challenge is how do you maximize your ability to supply customers when the supply of vehicles is so highly contested out of factories? “
The Vauxhall Corsa was expected to top the ranking of new car registrations in 2021, followed by the Tesla Model 3.
Mr. Hawes described the growing popularity of electric cars as “the only very strong and bright spot on the horizon.”
It was the best year ever for plug-in cars, both battery-electric and plug-in hybrids, with 305,000 registrations, which represents about one in six new cars purchased.
More battery electric vehicles were registered last year than between 2016 and 2020 combined.
But Mr Hawes stressed the importance of “continued investment” in electric vehicles, saying it “doesn’t help” when cuts are made in government subsidies.
The latest cut, in mid-December, saw the maximum amount of cash motorists can claim for a plug-in car drop from £ 1,000 to £ 1,500.
The Department of Transportation said the move would allow the program to “help more people.”
Jim Holder, editorial director of What Car? Magazine and website, described the semiconductor shortage as “a major problem for almost all manufacturers, with delivery times pushed to over a year for many models. “.
He said strong sales of electric vehicles were “one of the few success stories in the automotive industry” last year, and their rapid adoption is “a trend we can guarantee to continue into 2022.”
Sales of new petrol and diesel cars and vans will be banned in the UK from 2030.