Vauxhall Corsa

UK new car registrations fell 34.9% in June, according to figures published by the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT).

With 145,377 new cars registrations, this represented a decline of 78,044 compared with June 2019, as dealerships in Wales and Scotland remained closed for much of the month.

Registrations of petrol cars declined 39.9% and diesel cars were down 59.8%, but battery electric vehicles rose 261.8%. The latest figures mean that the market is almost 616,000 units, or 48.5%, down on the same period last year, with about 240,000 private sales lost since the lockdown began.

SMMT chief executive Mike Hawes said: “While it’s welcome to see demand rise above the rock-bottom levels we saw during lockdown, this is not a recovery and barely a restart. Many of June’s registrations could be attributed to customers finally being able to collect their pre-pandemic orders, and appetite for significant spending remains questionable.

“The government must boost the economy, help customers feel safer in their jobs and in their spending and give businesses the confidence to invest in their fleets. Otherwise it runs the risk of losing billions more in revenue from this critical sector at a time when the public purse needs it more than ever.”

Sue Robinson, director of the National Franchised Dealers Association (NFDA), which represents franchised car and commercial vehicle retailers in the UK, commented: “It is important to note that although dealers in England and Northern Ireland opened in early June, showrooms in Wales and Scotland remained closed for most of the month.

“As many regular commuters have turned to driving to avoid public transport, used and relatively economical cars have been particularly popular over the past weeks.

“We look forward to seeing next month’s figures when the effects of pent-up demand will have started to ease, and more UK dealerships will have been open throughout the month.”