The UK auto industry has been hit by its worst June for new car sales since 1996.
New car registrations plunged around 24% last month compared to June 2021, according to the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT).
Manufacturers have struggled to fill orders due to a global shortage of semiconductors, the trade body said.
Supply chain issues have been fueled by rising demand for consumer products containing computer chips and pandemic-related production disruptions such as shutdowns in China.
Drivers face wait times of more than a year for some models.
During the first half of 2022, only around 800,000 new cars were sold, a drop of 12% compared to the same period last year. The June figure was 141,000.
This represents the industry’s second-weakest January-June performance since 1992.
Jim Holder, editorial director of What Car? magazine and website, said car buyers have been dealing with delayed orders and price increases as manufacturers pass on the cost of rising energy bills.
“The result is longer wait times on cars that will cost more to buy,” he warned.
Growing demand for electric cars
Electric cars are forming a growing share of sales.
About 16% of new cars registered in June were purely electric, compared to 11% in the same month last year, according to separate figures from green motoring consultancy New AutoMotive.
Ben Nelmes, co-founder of New AutoMotive, said rising gasoline and diesel prices are “driving consumers toward electric cars” but vehicle supply “can’t keep up with demand.”
“We hear that delivery times for electric cars are now between 40 weeks and a year,” he said.
“Electric vehicle supply is the biggest barrier to cleaner UK road transport.”
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Manufacturers will be required to sell a certain percentage of zero-emission cars and vans starting in 2024.
Nelmes urged ministers to ensure the level is higher than the 22% proposed for cars to “attract more electric vehicles to the UK”.
Sales of new petrol and diesel cars will be banned from 2030 as part of the UK’s plan to reach net zero carbon emissions by 2050.
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