The latest data from the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) showed that a number of new cars declined in September amid a global semiconductor shortage.
Registrations fell nearly 35% year-on-year to 215,312 in the month. This was the lowest September level seen since 1998, a year before the biennial number plate system was introduced in 1999.
Monthly performance came in at about half the pre-pandemic ten-year average.
SMMT said that “supply issues due to semiconductor shortage are plaguing the industry”.
Global chip production has slowed amid supply chain and logistics issues, development and supply of new cars. The cost of manufacturing a car has also increased.
Consumers are now facing long waits for new models and this has helped lift the market for used cars along with pandemic savings and public transport vigilance.
However, by the end of the summer, large listed dealerships were warning that supplies of both new and used cars were becoming tight, and vehicle delivery dates were shaky, even as wider supply chain issues hit home.
Mike Hayes, CEO of SMMT, said: “This is an extremely disappointing September and further evidence of the ongoing impact of the COVID pandemic on the region.
“Despite strong demand for new vehicles in the summer, supply has been stalled for three consecutive months due to low semiconductor availability, especially from Asia.”
He added: “Nevertheless, manufacturers are taking all possible measures to maintain deliveries and customers can expect attractive offers on a range of new vehicles.”
Sean Kemple, Managing Director of Close Brothers Motor Finance, said: “Supply chain pressures are unlikely to ease this side of Christmas and with older vehicles going for premium prices, car-looking customers are in an unreliable position. is abandoned.”
In bright news, more Britons bought a new electric car last month, with 32,721 joining the road, SMMT said. EV vehicles claimed 15% of the market “reflecting consumer appetite”.
The figures came as engineers Melrose warned it was “heavily constrained” by global semi-conductor shortages and said the delay was getting worse.
CEO Simon Peckham said: “Supply reductions in semi-conductors for the automotive industry are frustrating and difficult to plan for, but while they do affect existing business, they do not impact long-term value.”