The UK’s new car market recorded its second successive month of growth in September.
Registrations of new cars increased by 4.6% compared with the same month in 2021, according to the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT).
Some 225,269 new cars were registered in September, which is typically the sector’s second biggest month of the year due to new number plates being released.
September last year was the weakest since 1998, and the number of registrations last month was 34.4% below pre-pandemic levels as the industry continued to battle supply problems.
Sales of new cars during the year so far are 8.2% down on the same period in 2021.
More than a million new plug-in electric cars have been registered in the UK, including 249,575 this year alone.
“Battery electric vehicles make up but a small fraction of cars on the road, so we need to ensure every lever is pulled to encourage motorists to make the shift if our green goals are to be met.
“The overall market remains weak, however, as supply chain issues continue to constrain model availability.
“Whilst the industry is working hard to address these issues, the long-term recovery of the market also depends on robust consumer confidence and economic stability.”
Alex Buttle, co-founder of used car marketplace Motorway.co.uk, said: “Anyone who was expecting the traditional spike in new car uptake in September to coincide with new number plates will be sadly disappointed.
“With widespread concern about spiralling energy costs, inflation and now mortgage increases, combined with continued supply chain issues, can we really be surprised at the marginal growth in new car sales?
— SMMT (@SMMT) October 5, 2022
“The glimmer of sunshine peeking through the rain clouds is EV (electric vehicle) sales which continue to stay strong.”
Chris Knight, automotive partner at professional services company KPMG, said: “Car makers are still working their way through the backlog of orders that have built up as a consequence of supply shortages, but higher household costs are shaping new demand.
“As consumer credit becomes more expensive due to higher interest rates, we expect to see a fall in the average price paid for new vehicles, whilst some consumers will delay buying a new car altogether.”