New car sales: September car registrations fall by 34.4%

October 12, 2021 by

New car sales have dropped by 34.4% in September 2021 compared with the same month last year

  • 215,312 new car registrations in September
  • New car registrations down 34.4% year-on-year

Figures published by the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) have revealed that new car sales dropped by 34.4% compared with the same month in 2020.

It’s the weakest September since 1998 and looks even more of a concerning figure when the comparatively stricter coronavirus restrictions of September 2020 are taken into account.

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Alternatively-fuelled cars continued to rise in numbers though despite the overall trend of decline. Plug-in hybrid car sales rose by 11.5% compared with September 2020, totalling 13,884, while pure-electric car registrations tallied at 32,721 — a 49.4% increase over the same month last year.

Regular ‘self-charging’ hybrids racked up 24,961 registrations, meaning a 5.1% decline year-on-year, while sales of mild-hybrid petrol and diesel cars also dropped by 10.1% and 15.1% respectively.

Overall sales so far in 2021 total 1,316,614 at the end of September — a 5.% increase compared with the same period in 2020.

New car sales: biggest sellers in September

Topping the charts for September was the Tesla Model 3 with 6,879 followed by the Vauxhall Corsa at 5,235.

Rounding off the podium was the BMW 3 Series with 4,788 while usual suspects including the Toyota Yaris, Volkswagen Polo and Kia Sportage all made an appearance in the top 10.

September new car registrations
Tesla Model 3 6,879 Latest deals
Vauxhall Corsa 5,235 Latest deals
BMW 3 Series 4,788 Latest deals
Toyota Yaris 4,364 Latest deals
Nissan Qashqai 4,118 Latest deals
Kia Sportage 4,104
Latest deals
Volkswagen Polo 4,062 Latest deals
Toyota Aygo 3,857 Latest deals
Kia Niro 3,776 Latest deals
Volkswagen Golf 3,609 Latest deals

New car sales: biggest sellers year to date

Despite trailing the Telsa Model 3 in September, the Vauxhall Corsa holds top spot as the best-selling car so far in 2021 with 32,616 new registrations.

The Volkswagen Golf comes in second with 26,606 sales, while the Ford Fiesta follows in third at 19,608 — despite a new version of the supermini waiting in the wings.

Mike Hawes, SMMT chief executive, said: “With the final phases of the UK’s vaccine rollout well underway and confidence increasing, the automotive sector is now battling against a ‘long Covid’ of vehicle supply challenges. The semiconductor shortages arising from Covid-constrained output globally are affecting vehicle production, disrupting supply on certain models and restricting the automotive recovery.

“However, rebuilding for the next decade is now well underway with investment in local battery production beginning and a raft of new electrified models in showrooms. With the end of domestic restrictions later this month looking more likely, business and consumer optimism should improve further, fuelling increased spending, especially as the industry looks towards September and advanced orders for the next plate change.”

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