End of year figures from the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) show that 1.64 million new cars were registered in 2021 – up just 1.0% on last year.

The figures highlight the huge impact of Covid and the semiconductor shortage.

Petrol-powered vehicles which include mild hybrids (MHEVs) remain the most popular with 58.3% of all new cars sold in 2021.

Last year was the most successful year ever for new battery electric vehicles (BEVs). A total of 190,727 new BEVs were registered.

The Vauxhall Corsa is the UK’s best-selling car with over 40,0000 being sold in 2021.

“It’s been another desperately disappointing year for the car industry as Covid continues to cast a pall over any recovery. Manufacturers continue to battle myriad challenges, with tougher trading arrangements, accelerating technology shifts and, above all, the global semiconductor shortage which is decimating supply.

Despite the challenges, the undeniable bright spot is the growth in electric car uptake. A record-breaking year for the cleanest, greenest vehicles is testament to the investment made by the industry over the past decade and the inherent attractiveness of the technology. The models are there, with two of every five new car models now able to be plugged in, drivers have the widest choice ever and industry is working hard to overcome Covid-related supply constraints.

The biggest obstacle to our shared net zero ambitions is not product availability, however, but cost and charging infrastructure. Recent cuts to incentives and home charging grants should be reversed and we need to boost the roll out of public on-street charging with mandated targets, providing every driver, wherever they live, with the assurance they can charge where they want and when they want.”

Said Mike Hawes, SMMT Chief Executive.

Figures from the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT).

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