The rise in sales of electric cars does not outweigh the downturn – sales decreased by almost 30 percent year-on-year in 2020.
2020 car sales in the UK have been pushed to their lowest level since 1992 by the coronavirus pandemic. According to industry statistics, this is the biggest annual slump since World War II, amid increasing electric car sales.
Sales declined 29 percent to about 1.63 million during the year, preliminary figures from the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) show.
The first closure in March, the critical month when sales are normally boosted by a change in license plates, was the key cause of the decline.
From late March to June, car dealerships in England were closed, forcing businesses to turn rapidly to online sales and enforce social distancing in factories.
“It’s been a very, very difficult year,” Mike Hawes, chief executive of the SMMT, said. “These are unprecedented levels [of disruption]and they have continually challenged the industry.”
As recently as 2016, revenue had peaked at 2.7 million, but 2020 was the first time since 2011 that overall sales dropped below 2 million. Hawes said the national freeze announced on Monday in England will make it impossible in 2021 for sales to rise above that amount again.
Although gasoline and diesel car sales dropped dramatically, battery-powered electric car sales tripled to nearly 110,000 during the year, accounting for approximately 6.6 percent of total sales.
For the first time, the addition of plug-in hybrid electric vehicles – which combine internal combustion engines with externally rechargeable batteries – raised the market share of plug-in cars beyond 10 percent.
After the U.K., the industry is pushing to increase electric car sales even more rapidly. In November, the government declared it would ban the selling of vehicles with traditional internal combustion engines by 2030.
“We need to go from one in 10 [plug-ins] to 10 in 10 in nine years,” Hawes said. “That’s the challenge we face.”
U.K. in 2020 The factories were also facing the threat of tense trade talks with the EU, finding a trade agreement only on Christmas Eve. The agreement ensures that industry has avoided the imposition of tariffs or restrictions on the cross-channel trade of most cars or components, even though car manufacturers are facing substantial new rules of origin paperwork, with EU or UK sourcing of battery technology. A specific emphasis.
The agreement is a huge relief for car manufacturers, Hawes said, even though it is not equivalent to the advantages of seamless access to the EU single market. He added, however, that due to the latest border controls, the industry will be watching closely for disruptions in imports of parts in the coming weeks.
Japanese automaker Honda said Tuesday that because of delays, it will stop production at its Swindon plant for two days.
In July, Honda, whose plant is set to close indefinitely, blamed “global supply issues.” Honda, Toyota and Jaguar Land Rover were all forced to stop production before Christmas as Brexit worsened global supply chain problems.
The latest shutdown in England, by far the biggest U.K. The market has set back the prospect of recovery by a few more months for the automotive industry, but Hawes said the 2020 experience meant that the industry was much better prepared for any disruption in 2021, even though it faced a “rocky few months.”
As the luxury carmaker announced its record contribution to UK sales statistics, Bentley’s chief executive, Adrian Hallmark, reiterated his views. On Tuesday, the luxury carmaker, owned by the German Volkswagen Group, reported annual sales of 11,206 cars, up 2% on 2019, boosted by a good success in China.
“Looking ahead to the year ahead, we remain cautiously optimistic as much remains uncertain,” Hallmark said.