Ian Plummer, Auto Trader's Commercial Director comments on the latest new car registrations from the Society of Motor Manufacturer and Traders (SMMT)
“Today’s weak new car figures underline the lingering challenges for carmakers, as the war in Ukraine adds to the headwinds of a post-Covid shortage of semiconductors and lockdowns in China. Even though the microchip shortage is easing a little, manufacturers are struggling to source critical components like wiring looms, which are a major Ukrainian export and hard to replace.
“While there are some signs of dented consumer confidence now dampening car buying demand from its recent highs, the main issue in the new car market lies with supply rather than demand with most brands and dealerships boasting bulging orderbooks and buyers typically waiting many months for deliveries. Because production levels aren’t yet big enough to eat away at the order backlog, lead times aren’t yet getting any shorter – and in some cases, they’re even getting worse. Carmakers are telling us that supply is unlikely to return and lead times to pre-Covid levels until well into 2023.
“On our marketplace it’s encouraging to see that one in every five ad views are for an EV. With challenges like rocketing fuel costs, it’s no surprise that demand remains strong – supply however is plagued by the parts shortages affecting the wider car production industry, which remains a primary challenge for the rate of potential EV sales. That aside, there’s a notable shift in the balance of sales in the new car market with all forms of hybrid as well as plug-in electrics now accounting for more sales than their petrol equivalents.”