Supply issues complicate new car sales results

New car registration results for June were another step forward as the UK reopens, although supply issues complicated the numbers somewhat

New car registration results for June were another step forward for the car industry as the UK reopens following repeated coronavirus shutdowns over the last 18 months.

More than 186,000 new cars were registered in June – nearly 20% on May’s figures, which were 11% up on April. While this will be a relief for car companies and dealerships, it’s still well down on June results from the last decade pre-pandemic.

Complicating matters was a serious supply shortfall for many manufacturers on some or all of their models. This has been caused by a global shortage of semiconductor computer chips that are crucial for the running of modern cars, causing many production lines to be slowed or even stopped as car companies wait for supplies. This is, unsurprisingly, a hangover of supplier shutdowns across the globe.

There were slightly more fleet buyers than private customers in June, which all looked fairly normal and was about what we used to expect before the pandemic craziness took hold. The overall numbers were (inevitably) less than the industry would like, but broadly in line with what we’ve been saying for ages – there’s been a steady decrease in new car registrations year-on-year since 2016, and if you ignore the outlier of last year, that trend is pretty steady.

Diesels hit new low – again

It does sound like a broken record, but diesel’s market share fell to its lowest-ever level in June, with just over 14% of the market (which includes mild hybrid diesel cars). That means that diesels were outsold by plug-in cars (full-electric and plug-in hybrid) for the first time. This was helped by a boatload of Teslas, which we’ll come to in a minute.

Petrol’s market share fell just below 60% as the market share of electrified cars (electric, plug-in hybrids and regular hybrids) accounted for a quarter of all registrations – another new record. This will be an inevitable trajectory for the foreseeable future, so we promise not mention it again until at least next month.

Good month, bad month

Volkswagen dominated the market again in June, with Audi once again taking second place ahead of a very close race for third place – Ford pipped BMW by just seven units. Mercedes-Benz slumped to eighth, behind Toyota, Vauxhall and Kia, thanks largely to a lack of A-Class stock.

Our usual analysis of which brands have outperformed the market and which have fallen behind is again rather pointless this month, with enormous variation across all the car companies.

Porsche and Land Rover took a big hit, with sales well down in an overall market that was up 28% on the same month last year. On a happier note, Subaru and Mazda both recorded big improvements on their results from the same time last year, which will keep the dealerships happy.

Tesla rocks the boat as the A-Class sinks without trace

The Tesla Model 3 topped the charts quite comfortably in June, ahead of the Volkswagen Golf and ever-improving Ford Puma. Meanwhile, the Mercedes-Benz A-Class vanished from the top ten along with the Nissan Qashqai – although Nissan at least has the excuse that it’s in the middle of switching over to an all-new model, which always affects both demand and supply as the old car makes way for the new.

That has meant a bit of leapfrogging in year-to-date registrations, with the Golf passing the A-Class to re-take third place as 2021 reaches its halfway point. The Ford Puma also overtook the Nissan Qashqai for fifth place, and the Volkswagen Polo also jumped the BMW 3 Series and the Volvo XC40, which is another car struggling for sales compared to a few months ago.

We’ll have a our usual look at the top ten later this week.

Stuart Massonhttps://www.thecarexpert.co.uk/
Stuart is the Editorial Director of our suite of sites: The Car Expert, The Van Expert and The Truck Expert. Originally from Australia, Stuart has had a passion for cars and the automotive industry for over thirty years. He spent a decade in automotive retail, and now works tirelessly to help car buyers by providing independent and impartial advice.

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