New van registrations fall for fifth consecutive month as supply squeeze continues.
- New light commercial vehicle registrations fall to 22,000, down -25.1% on last year’s record-breaking May.
- 39,209 fewer vans registered year-to-date as shortages of key components continue to restrict production.
- Electric van registrations up 62.7% to 6,085 units in first five months of 2022.
UK light commercial vehicle (LCV) registrations recorded their fifth consecutive month of decline in May, falling -25.1% to 22,000 units, according to the latest figures from the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT).
Although the fall is amplified in comparison with last year, which saw the highest May registrations total in history, the market was still some -21.5% below the pre-pandemic average as component shortages restricted production and therefore delivery.
All segments saw a fall in volumes during the month, although larger vans weighing more than 2.5 tonnes were less impacted, with a decline of -19.4%. Medium vans weighing greater than 2.0 to 2.5 tonnes declined by -33.4%. The largest fall was recorded in the 4×4 sector (-80.7%), although this is a low volume segment subject to volatility.
Some 869 battery electric vans (BEV) were registered in the month – 276 more than last May. BEV registrations for the year to date are 62.7% higher than last year, due in part down to significant large fleet orders delivered earlier in the year. As a result, over the year to date, overall BEV market share has more than doubled to 5.2% – testament to the growing choice provided by manufacturers, with one in three models now available as a plug-in.
However, the sector lags behind the new car market, where, in the year to date, BEVs comprise 14.0% of new registrations. With pure petrol and diesel cars and vans facing the same 2030 end of sale date, the need for a ‘van plan’ to encourage operators to make the switch by providing long term incentives and dedicated van charging infrastructure is readily apparent. Electric vans comprise just one in 20 new registrations and account for around one in 180 in use. This is borne out by an SMMT survey released last month that revealed 58% of existing van owners would be encouraged to switch to an EV if there were more public charging points, while 57% said that government incentives such as reduced tax or grants towards purchase would help them to transition to electric.
Mike Hawes, SMMT Chief Executive, said,
“Global supply chain shortages continue to hold back the market following last May’s post-pandemic bounce back. Manufacturers have, however, worked hard to get the latest zero-emission vans to customers, more than doubling their market share. However, this is still an emerging market and everything must be done to encourage drivers to switch to zero emission commercial vehicles if we are to achieve our net zero goals. The industry will tackle the supply chain challenges undermining delivery but we urgently need a van plan to address the paucity of dedicated commercial vehicle infrastructure, as well as incentives to boost the sector’s electric transition.”
May new car market declines as supply constraints hold back deliveries.
- UK new car registrations decline -20.6% to 124,394 units in second weakest May in three decades after locked-down 2020, as components shortages impact vehicle availability despite demand.
- Battery electric vehicle uptake increases by 17.7%, representing 12.4% of the month’s registrations, as manufacturers prioritise their supply.
- Incentives and infrastructure key to consumer confidence in choosing electric for their new car.
New UK car registrations fell -20.6% to 124,394 units in the second weakest May since 1992, after the 2020 pandemic-hit market, as supply shortages continued to hamper new purchases and the fulfilment of existing orders, according to the latest figures from the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT). The decline, compared with the first full month of reopened showrooms in May last year, demonstrates the impact of continued global supply chain disruptions, with the market -32.3% below the 2019 pre-pandemic level despite strong order books.
While private consumer purchases fell -10.3%, their market share increased year-on-year by 6.1 percentage points to 53.2%, in part due to manufacturers striving to fulfil deliveries – particularly of electric vehicles – to private buyers, with the commensurate effect on the business and large fleet sectors, which now comprise 46.8% of the market.
Despite the myriad challenges affecting the industry and a high level of market distortion due to restricted supply of all vehicle types and technologies, manufacturers have worked hard to sustain progress towards the decarbonisation of road transport and the delivery of UK’s ambitious net zero targets. May saw registrations of battery electric vehicles (BEVs) rise by 17.7%, representing one in eight new cars joining the road last month. Plug-in hybrids declined -25.5%, while hybrids were up 12.0%, meaning deliveries of electrified vehicles accounted for three in 10 new cars.
Superminis continued to be the most sought-after segment by British motorists, making up 32.7% of registrations in the month, despite their registrations falling -16.4% to 40,667 units, followed by dual purpose, which accounted for 28.9% of the market even after a -14.1% fall in volumes. The small volume luxury car segment was the only area of growth, up 16.8%, to 369 units.
The supply chain challenge has contributed to an overall market decline in the year to date of -8.7%, equivalent to 62,724 fewer units. This is -40.6% below the five-year average recorded from January to May, as the new car market continues to struggle to emerge from the impact of the pandemic.
Mike Hawes, SMMT Chief Executive, said,
“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. To continue this momentum and drive a robust mass market for these vehicles, we need to ensure every buyer has the confidence to go electric. This requires an acceleration in the rollout of accessible charging infrastructure to match the increasing number of plug-in vehicles, as well as incentives for the purchase of new, cleaner and greener cars.”
“Delivering on Net Zero means renewing the vehicles on our roads at pace but, with rising inflation and a squeeze on household incomes, this will be increasingly difficult unless businesses and private buyers have the confidence and encouragement to do so.”