Bulletin of Industry
The number of new vehicles that have been sold in the U.K. In the midst of the coronavirus crisis and confusion about Brexit, statistics show that it dropped by about a third last year.
According to the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT), which warned the coming months would be “rocky.” new registrations dropped to just over 1.6 million.
A 10.9 percent decline in December capped a “tumultuous” year in which demand dropped by 680,076 units to the lowest level of registrations since 1992, the trade organization said.
In 2019, the highest year-over-year fall since 1943, new car sales dropped by around 29 percent.
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Against the context of Covid constraints, an acceleration of the end of sales for oil and diesel vehicles to 2030 and Brexit uncertainty, the SMMT said the industry experienced an overall loss of more than £ 20 billion in sales.
Private vehicle demand plummeted by more than a quarter, leaving the Treasury with a VAT loss of £ 1.9 billion, while sales of cars to car fleets declined by about a third.
For battery and plug-in hybrid electric vehicles, the SMMT announced a “bumper” year, which accounted for more than one in 10 registrations, compared with around one in 30 in 2019.
Battery electric vehicle (BEV) demand has increased 185.9 percent to 108,205 units, while plug-in hybrid (PHEV) registrations have increased 91.2 percent to 66,877.
The majority of these vehicles were company cars, indicating that private buyers need stronger incentives to make the move, as well as more investment in charging infrastructure, particularly on-the-road public charging stations, the SMMT said.
Mike Hawes, SMMT chief executive, estimated that £ 16 billion will need to be spent on plug-in infrastructure because there is no powertrain for too many drivers and they have to park on the lane.
The U.K. has over 100 plug-in car models available. At least 35 models will be introduced by buyers and producers this year, more than the number of gasoline or diesel models expected, the SMMT said.
Hawes said 2020 would be seen as a “lost year” for the automotive industry, with the industry shutting down for most of the year due to a pandemic and uncertainty regarding future trade conditions taking its toll.
We must, however, make 2021 a year of recovery with the introduction of vaccines and the clarification of our new relationship with the EU.
“As manufacturers launch a record number of electrified vehicles in the coming months, we will work with the government to encourage drivers to make the switch, while encouraging investment in our world-renowned manufacturing base – recharging the market, the industry and the economy.”
The last-minute Brexit trade deal, he said, was a “massive relief” for the automotive industry, avoiding a no-deal catastrophe, but added that firms would still face further red tape and administration.
Hawes added that England’s renewed lockdown and continuing tough restrictions in the rest of the UK would further impact the automotive industry and cautioned that it will be “rocky.” in the coming months.
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