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New car sales decline despite robust demand

NFDA 04/11/2021

“Despite robust demand from consumers, sales of new cars fell in October due to the well documented supply-side constraints”, said Sue Robinson, Chief Executive of the National Franchised Dealers Association (NFDA), which represents franchised car and commercial vehicle retailers in the UK commenting on the latest SMMT’s new passenger car registration figures.

New passenger car registrations declined by -24.6% in October compared to the same month last year as significant supply issues continued to affect the market. October saw a total of 106,265 units registered; 1,422,879 new cars have been sold in the first ten months of the year.

Sales of plug-in electric vehicles continue to expand. Battery electric (BEV), plug-in hybrid (PHEV) vehicles grew by 73.1% and 7.5% respectively. Sales of diesel cars fell -66.4% and petrol was down -30.6%.

Registrations from fleet and private buyers declined, but sales to private consumers performed better (-40.4% and -3.3%).

Sue Robinson added: “The sustained growth experienced by the plug-in and battery electric vehicle sectors is encouraging. In line with consumers’ uptake, retailers are also embracing the transition to zero emissions as demonstrated by the enthusiastic response to NFDA’s Government-backed, recently reopened accreditation scheme Electric Vehicle Approved (EVA).

“Franchised dealers remain the go-to place to buy a new car with consumer appetite to experience electric vehicles continuously growing and footfall rising in showrooms. Motorists seek advice and reassurance as they want to understand EVs, which, for many, differ in specification and operation from the car they been used to.

“Supply constraints are unlikely to ease off in the short term, as a result, dealers continue to meet their customers’ needs thanks to a strong used and nearly new car market and the ever-increasing demand for EVs”.

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About the RMI

The Retail Motor Industry represents the interests of operators in England, Wales, Northern Ireland and the Isle of Man providing sales and services to motorists and businesses. The RMI has a formal association with the independent Scottish Motor Trade Association which represents the retail motor industry in Scotland.