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UK car sales tumble n 2021

The UK’s car industry has reported its second worse year for sales since 1992, as the pandemic and chip shortages hit the automotive sector.

According to the industry body SMMT, new car registrations were up just 1 per cent last year and with 1.65m new cars entering the UK market and that is 28.7% less than in 2019, prior to the pandemic.

New registrations fell by 18.2% in December compared with the previous year.

SMMT said that sale have been impacted by global semiconductor shortages, which meant fewer models were available.

Commenting Mike Hawes, SMMT chief executive, said: “It’s been another desperately disappointing year for the car industry as Covid continues to cast a pall over any recovery.

“Manufacturers continue to battle myriad challenges, with tougher trading arrangements, accelerating technology shifts and, above all, the global semiconductor shortage which is decimating supply.”

Yet despite the surfeit of bad news there was one bright spot and that is that demand for electric vehicles jumped, with more battery electric vehicles registered in 2021 than over the previous five years combined.

EV sales rose from 108,000 in 2020, when battery-powered cars accounted for just 6.6% of the new cars bought in Britain. In December 2021, electric cars made up 26% of sales, which is a record for a single month.

Neil Tyler

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