Ian Plummer, Auto Trader’s Commercial Director, said: “December’s figures show an interesting finish to an extraordinary year for the automotive industry. Even though the number of new car registrations remains artificially suppressed by the ongoing semiconductor shortage, which is severely restricting supply, demand for vehicles remains at an all-time high, with visits to Auto Trader’s marketplace up 14% ( December 2021 vs 2019).
“These trends are on track to continue well into the new year, as manufacturers make their way through the backlog of orders, with many having already sold most, or even all, of their available products for the first months of 2022, and consumers - many of whom still have their lockdown savings – decide to either upgrade the cars they have or take up car ownership, as they adjust to post-lockdown life.
“A bright spot of 2021 was the impressive growth in electric vehicle (EVs) sales, with more battery-powered EVs (BEVs) registered last year than in 2016-2020 combined. Interest in EVs grew considerably, with 1 in 5 people looking at a new car on Auto Trader last year considering an EV as part of their search Aspirational brands like Tesla are reporting remarkable numbers, despite the global chip shortage, as the brand continues to capture imaginations, encouraging more consumers to get excited about the EV driving experience and the shift to more sustainable transport. With a new EV launched almost every ten days through 2021, and as many as one a week expected to launch in 2022 many other brands are also igniting new consumer interest in EVs. In recent months, Volkswagen, Hyundai, and Kia made particularly striking breakthroughs with models like the iD3, IONIQ5, and EV6 respectively now often topping the charts of the most searched new cars on Auto Trader.
“October’s fuel crisis, new model launches, as well as the discussions on sustainability spurred on by COP26, would have been key to driving this change and boosting EV consideration. At the start of the year, 1 in 20 (8.8%) new cars viewed on Auto Trader were electric, that’s grown to 1 in 5 (24.7%). This increased consumer consideration is not something that Government can afford to take for granted. EV charging infrastructure needs to be upgraded urgently to ensure mass adoption becomes appealing, convenient, and affordable. The Government risks losing the trust of motorists yet again if they continue to encourage a change that they have failed to adequately prepare for.”