UK new-car sales rose just over 1% in August on EV demand

The UK’s new-car registrations rose 1.2 percent in August, ending five-straight months of declines, as growth was largely boosted by demand for full-electric vehicles, according to industry data.

The Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) said in a statement on Monday that registrations in August, which is considered the second quietest month of the year, were up at 68,858 units from 68,033 units a year earlier, as many buyers choose to wait for a new numberplate in September.

“Spiraling energy costs and inflation on top of sustained supply chain challenges are piling even more pressure on the automotive industry’s post-pandemic recovery, and we urgently need the new Prime Minister to tackle these challenges and restore confidence and sustainable growth,” SMMT CEO Mike Hawes said in the statement.

The auto market has been hit by the cost-of-living squeeze in Britain and the impact of persisting chip shortages across the globe.

“With September traditionally a bumper time for new car uptake, next month will be the true barometer of industry recovery,” Hawes added.

EV sales showed a 35 percent increase in volumes and a 14.5 percent market share.

However, SMMT warned that the growth in the segment is slowing, with a year-to-date increase of 49 percent, whereas at the end of first-quarter, EV registrations had risen 102 percent.

Through August, total registrations fell 11 percent to 983,099. Demand was down nearly a third from pre-pandemic 2019 levels.

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