While new car registration results for April were quite a mixed bag for the car industry, there was good news for UK carmakers as two of the three best-selling new cars were built here in the UK.
April data, published this morning by the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT), shows that private new car sales rose slightly from last April’s results, but the number of fleet registrations dropped by a third. has fallen. That ultimately led to a 16% drop in overall results compared to the same month last year.
New car sales are still severely limited by the supply of critical components, especially semiconductor chips that are used in many different parts of a car. Some manufacturers are also now being hampered by the Russian invasion of Ukraine, which has affected the supply of other vehicle components produced in Ukrainian factories.
However, it is not all doom and gloom for the auto industry. The production problems of the past two years, first due to Covid shutdowns and now due to parts shortages, have led to dramatic changes in the way car companies sell their cars. This is actually a much healthier position for the auto industry.
After decades of hefty discounts and financial incentives to artificially boost demand for new models, auto companies are now enjoying the luxury of being able to sell their products at full price – meaning most of them are now making more money than they would in a previous car. have done for a long time. time, despite the fact that far fewer cars are being built and sold.
For customers, this unfortunately means that the prices are significantly higher, simply because there are simply fewer discounts available. This particularly affects fleet sales, as car companies are less likely to offer huge discounts to fleet companies buying many thousands of cars – if you can’t deliver the cars anyway, there’s no need to discount.
Electrical growth slows
After a good start to the year for electric and plug-in hybrid sales, April was not as strong as expected; EV registrations were still up 41% compared to the same month last year, but that’s less growth than we’ve seen in recent months. Plug-in hybrid sales were down 37%, but this is a trend rather than a long-term trend.
For all-electric cars, the numbers are heavily influenced by Tesla, which operates very differently from most automakers by not having a traditional dealer network. As such, sales figures fluctuate much more than other auto companies. After Tesla took the top two spots on the bestsellers list in March, Tesla virtually disappeared from the sales charts in April with almost no sales at all (after registering about 13,000 new car sales in March, it seems Tesla is no longer there. has sold). than a few hundred in April).
Year-to-date, electric car sales are still up nearly 90% as more and more new models enter the new car market. Plug-in hybrid sales are quite flat compared to the same period for 2021, but renewed growth is likely in the second half of the year.
Good month, bad month
Ford topped the sales charts for the first time in a long time in April, thanks to strong sales from its Puma and Kuga SUVs. Audi was close behind in second place, with Kia dropping to third after becoming the best-selling manufacturer in March. Ford also took the overall sales lead for 2022 as a result, although the margin for Kia is minuscule.
Despite the overall market down 16% compared to April last year, there was significant industry variation as auto companies battled their supply chain demons.
It was a good month for Alfa Romeo, Alpine, Bentley, Cupra, Dacia, DS Automobiles, Fiat, Honda, Hyundai, Kia, Maserati, Mazda, MG, Mini, Nissan, Polestar, Renault, SsangYong and Suzuki. All of these outperformed the overall market by at least 10%.
Meanwhile, life was not so rosy for Jaguar, Jeep, Land Rover, Lexus, Peugeot, SEAT, Skoda, Subaru, Vauxhall, Volkswagen and Volvo – all of which performed at least 10% below the market.
A notable lingering absence from each month’s data is Tesla, which does not report its aggregate numbers to the SMMT.
Qashqai and Mini fly the flag for Great Britain
Again, the top ten chart in April was a bit of a confusion and that pattern will only continue in the coming months.
It was good news for workers in Sunderland, as the Nissan Qashqai won the UK’s best-selling new car title in April. Meanwhile, their compatriots in Oxford enjoyed another good month of the Mini hatchback, the country’s third best-selling new car.
Ford enjoyed strong performance from the small SUV Puma, while the medium-sized SUV Kuga re-emerged in tenth place. However, the Fiesta is still absent from the top ten charts.
There were two surprising entries in the top ten, as the Peugeot 208 emerged in sixth place and the Audi A3 in eighth.
In total registrations to date, the Opel Corsa remains in first place ahead of the Ford Puma, while the Nissan Qashqai rose from eighth to third place last month.
We’ll be publishing our usual monthly analysis of the top ten shortly.