Automotive News – Early May 2021

141,583 new cars registered in April as showrooms reopened – significantly up on April 2020 when lockdown closed retail and the nation, but still -12.9% down on decade average.  The SMMT revised its forecast upwards to 1.86m registrations by end of the year, up 13.9% on 2020.

Plug-in vehicles forecast are to account for more than one in seven registrations in 2021.

April saw an artificial 30-fold increase of new car registrations compared to the same month last year, but volumes still remained -12.9% lower than the 10-year average at just 141,583 new units, according to the latest figures released by the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT). This year’s monthly total dwarfed that recorded in April 2020, when the first national lockdown effectively shut the country, and just 4,321 cars were registered.

The light commercial vehicle market recorded its busiest ever April as 30,440 new vans were registered, according to the latest figures released today by the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT).

All vehicle segments saw artificially inflated growth rates relative to April 2020, when Covid restrictions shut down much of the economy, with an eight-fold increase in total units.

Registrations were also well ahead of the five-year average, with April 2021 up by 23.2%.1 With some 127,796 vans registered so far in 2021, uptake levels have returned to levels last seen in 2019.

Ford Motor Company announced it is growing its investment in Solid Power, an industry-leading producer of all-solid-state batteries for EVs.

Initially investing in Solid Power in 2019, Ford is making an additional equity investment to help accelerate further development of solid-state vehicle battery technology, contributing to a $130 million Series B investment round in which the BMW Group becomes an equal equity owner with Ford.

“Solid-state battery technology is important to the future of electric vehicles, and that’s why we’re investing in it directly as well as accelerating Ford’s in-house R&D on next-generation battery technology,” said Hau Thai-Tang, Ford’s chief product platform and operations officer. “Leveraging the speed of a start-up and the expertise of some of the most seasoned battery experts in the world at Ford, we’re exploring different ways to power tomorrow’s fun-to-drive all-electric vehicles, using proven development and manufacturing processes.”

Aston Martin’s turnaround is gathering pace as the car maker’s new owners see early signs of progress.  Revenues were up 153% to £224.4m in the first quarter of the year, with pre-tax losses narrowly significantly, from £110m to £42m.

Executive chairman Lawrence Stroll, who took over last year, said: “I am delighted with the great progress we are making as demonstrated by the results we are reporting today which mark the first steps towards achieving our medium-term targets.

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