SMMT Update: Half-year registrations show an industry in recovery
Half-year new car and van registrations show a sector on its way to recovery as manufacturers try and meet the changing demands of consumers following an incredibly challenging two years. The new car market delivered its eleventh month of successive growth in June, up more than a quarter, with almost a million new cars having joined UK roads this year. The new van market also enjoyed its share of good news, delivering the best first half year performance since 2019 and recording growth in every month of 2023.
This performance is testament to the industry’s determination as it overcomes pandemic-induced supply chain shortages that hampered production. Manufacturers are now prioritising deliveries of the latest cutting-edge, zero emission vehicles, expanding both the performance and range of the models.
Demand for battery electric vehicles continued in June, with orders increasing by 39.2% and a record-breaking 152,968 deliveries taking place so far this year – some 13 times greater than the same period in 2019. This is undoubtedly positive for both the industry and the environment but meeting our net zero goals, which are edging ever closer, requires an acceleration of uptake.
It is essential we reassure all drivers that electric motoring is sustainable and cost-effective – especially for those who do not have access to a driveway or designated parking spot. These drivers are unjustly paying four times as much in tax as those who can charge at home for the same amount of energy. Measures to cut VAT on public EV charging, therefore, must be introduced to help make owning an EV fairer and even more attractive.
Elsewhere this week, we were delighted to host SMMT’s first LGBTQ+ & Allies Workshop, hot on the heels of Pride Month. Embedding DE&I and advocating the rights of minority communities throughout our businesses is not just important, it’s good for business with countless surveys and reports demonstrating that a diverse workplace is a more successful one. Given the levels of vacancies in our industry – some twice the UK average – is it incredibly important we attracting more of the brightest and best whatever their background, gender, disability, sexual orientation or any other characteristic. The launch last year through the Automotive Council of the industry’s first Diversity and Inclusion Charter was a step in the right direction but more must be done if we are to reflect both the communities from which we recruit and the societies we support.
Thank you to all those who were able to attend and support this crucial initiative for the UK automotive industry.