New car sales down a fifth in August
In total, 68,033 cars were registered last month, down from 87,226 in August 2020, according to the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT).
August is traditionally one of the quietest months of the year for new car registrations ahead of the plate-change in September.
However, the monthly performance was the weakest since August 2013 when there were 65,937 new registrations.
Demand for the latest battery electric (BEV), hybrid (HEV) and plug-in hybrid (PHEV) vehicles, surged, up 32.2 per cent, 45.7 per cent and 72.1 per cent respectively.
Demand for PHEVs has outpaced BEVs in five of the last six months since changes to the Plug-in Car Grant, affecting BEVs, were introduced in March. There are now some 130 plug-in models on the market.
Mike Hawes, SMMT chief executive, said: “While August is normally one of the quietest months for UK new car registrations these figures are still disappointing, albeit not wholly surprising.
“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.
“As we enter the important September plate-change month with an ever-increasing range of electrified models and attractive deals, buyers in the market for the new 71 plate can be reassured manufacturers are doing all they can to ensure prompt deliveries.”
The Ford Puma, Volkswagen Polo and Toyota Yaris were the most popular models in August.