Buyers of electric and hybrid cars have been urged to place their orders sooner rather than later, before the supply shortage worsens.
The recommendation was made by the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) after the scarcity of semiconductor chips reduced new car sales by another month. A total of 119,167 cars left showrooms in April, 15.8% less than the same month in 2021, following the worst sales march since 1998.
It should be noted that April 2021 itself was a weak month for sales, as due to coronavirus restrictions, showrooms across the country were closed for 12 days.
Supply shortages have forced buyers to wait longer for most new cars, and as a result, some manufacturers have downsized their engine ranges. For example, Mini recently stopped producing manual versions of its three- and five-door hatchbacks.
The SMMT warned that global political issues, such as the ongoing conflict in Ukraine, could exacerbate the threat to supply chains in the coming months. This means that wait times could get even longer as the year goes on, and the variety of engines and trim levels for some cars is likely to shrink further.
It also said the rising cost of living dampened sales as inflated household and fuel bills prevented people from making important purchases, such as a new car.
These factors significantly weighed on trade in diesel and petrol cars, sales of which fell by 52% and 23.2% respectively compared to April last year.