UK new car registrations declined by 5.8% in August, compared with August 2019, according to figures published by the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders
(SMMT). Just over 87,000 vehicles were registered during what is traditionally the quietest month of the year for new car sales.
While registrations to private buyers held relatively steady, down by 699 units in the month, demand from businesses of all sizes was much more subdued, with 2,650 fewer new cars joining UK fleets, down 5.5% on August 2019.
Zero-emission-capable vehicles enjoyed a bumper August as a result of new models coming to market, with sales of plug-in hybrids increasing by 221.1%, although they still only accounted for 1 in 30 sales.
Registrations of battery electric cars increased by 77.6% (compared with August 2019), accounting for 6.4% of the total but making up just 4.9% of registrations in the first eight months of 2020 — up from 1.1% in the first eight months of 2019.
The SMMT says these figures clearly illustrate the scale of the challenge ahead to reach the Government target for EVs to comprise 70% of new car sales by 2030.
“The figures are released as the UK automotive industry calls for binding targets on charging infrastructure development and long-term commitments to incentivise the purchase of zero-emission-capable vehicles to accelerate demand. In the past five years, the range of such car models available in the UK has trebled to more than 80, with some 200 more in the pipeline over the coming years.
For customer demand to keep pace, at least 1.7 million new on-street charging points will need to be built by 2030, along with a long-term commitment from the Government to provide incentives for EV purchases.”
Following coronavirus enforced lockdowns Overall, registrations were down by 39.7% in the first eight months of the year, some 600,000 units behind the first eight months of 2019.