According to figures published by the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT), new car registrations have fallen 34.4% to 215,312 units, the weakest September since 1998, before the twice-a-year number plate system was introduced.
September is typically the second busiest month of the year for the industry, but with the ongoing shortage of semiconductors impacting vehicle availability, the 2021 performance was down some 44.7% on the pre-pandemic ten-year average.
However, September was the best month ever for new battery electric vehicle (BEV) uptake. With a market share of 15.2%, 32,721 BEVs joined the road in the month. The September performance was just over 5,000 short of the total number registered during the whole of 2019.
The plug-in hybrid (PHEV) share also grew to 6.4%, meaning more than one in five new cars registered in September was zero-emission capable. Meanwhile, hybrid electric vehicles (HEVs) grew their overall market share from 8% in 2020 to 11.6%, with 24,961 registered in the month.
In the light commercial vehicle (LCV) market, September saw a decline of 39.5% with 31,535 vans registered.
Registrations during the month fell across all weight classes, except 4x4s, with the number of vans weighing between 2.0-2.5 tonnes seeing the largest decline, of 70.1%. Despite comprising most of the market in September, heavier vans, which weigh more than 2.5 tonnes, fell by 28% and light vans weighing less than or equal to two tonnes dropped by 54.6%. Despite the declines in September, heavier van uptake remains up on 2020, with more than 51,000 additional units registered in the year to date.