UK new-car sales see second weakest May in 30 years

Jessica Thompson

New-car registrations in Britain tumbled nearly 21 percent last month, the second weakest May in three decades after lockdown-hit 2020, as persisting supply challenges hampered sales and deliveries despite robust demand, industry data showed.

The Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) said sales in the UK fell to 124,394 units last month, while full-electric vehicles uptake jumped nearly 18 percent and made up one in eight new cars joining the road.

“In yet another challenging month for the new car market, the industry continues to battle ongoing global parts shortages, with growing battery electric vehicle uptake one of the few bright spots,” SMMT CEO Mike Hawes said.

British new-car sales this year will likely be lower than previously thought as the cost-of-living squeeze in Britain and persisting chip shortages impact the auto market, the SMMT said last month.

The overall market has declined nearly 9 percent, equivalent to 62,724 fewer units, so far this year due to supply issues, the SMMT said.

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