Why Are Brand New Cars So Unfashionable?

Tue 9th Nov 2021

British motorists have seemingly fallen out of love with brand new cars, with sales plunging to a thirty year low, a slump which has continued for the last fourth months according to latest data.

There were just 106,000 brand new cars sold in October, the lowest figure since 1991, a time of recession, a drop of 25 per cent on the previous figures. The analysis, which has been published by the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders reflects the tough economic climate, with inflation and tax rises gripping the nation’s purse strings. Motor retailers have also been hit with supply problems caused by the lack of semiconductors, which has stalled some order books for 12 months.

It is not all doom and gloom for the industry, EV sales continue to be buoyant, with forecasts that there will be more EV registrations in 2021 than in the whole of 2010 to 2019 combined.

The motor organisation remains confident that the industry overall will bounce back in 2022 and is predicting close to 2 million new car registrations next year.

“The current performance reflects the challenging supply constraints, with the industry battling against semiconductor shortages and increasingly strong economic headwinds as inflation rises, taxes increase and consumer confidence has weakened,” said Mike Hawes, SMMT Chief Executive. 

“Electrified vehicles, however, continue to buck the trend, with almost one in six new cars registered this year capable of zero-emission motoring, growth that is fundamental to the UK’s ability to hit its net zero targets. With next year looking brighter, and even more new models expected, the continuation of this transition will depend on the preservation of incentives that overcome the affordability barrier, and the ability of the public and private sectors to increase public on street charging to allay EV driver concerns.”