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Gloucestershire Business News

Automotive industry sees 29 per cent fall in new car registrations

The UK new car market fell by almost a third in 2020, with annual registrations dropping to 1,631,064 units, according to figures published by the industry body.

The Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) said that a -10.9 per cent decline in December wrapped up a turbulent 12 months, which saw demand fall by 680,076 units to the lowest level of registrations since 1992.

Against a backdrop of Covid restrictions, an acceleration of the end of sale date for petrol and diesel cars to 2030 and Brexit uncertainty, the industry suffered a total turnover loss of some £20.4 billion.

The year saw also saw -31.1 per cent fewer vehicles joining large company car fleets.

It was, however, a bumper year for battery and plug-in hybrid electric cars, which together accounted for more than one in 10 registrations - up from around one in 30 in 2019.

More than 100 plug-in car models are now available to UK buyers, and manufacturers are scheduled to bring more than 35 to market in 2021 - more than the number of either petrol or diesel new models planned for the year.

SMMT said that ahead, another lockdown across England and ongoing tough restrictions across the rest of the UK will further impact the industry and, while click and collect can continue to provide a lifeline, it cannot offset the impact of showroom closures.

Mike Hawes, SMMT chief executive, said: "2020 will be seen as a 'lost year' for Automotive, with the sector under pandemic-enforced shutdown for much of the year and uncertainty over future trading conditions taking their toll.

"However, with the rollout of vaccines and clarity over our new relationship with the EU, we must make 2021 a year of recovery. With manufacturers bringing record numbers of electrified vehicles to market over the coming months, we will work with government to encourage drivers to make the switch, while promoting investment in our globally-renowned manufacturing base - recharging the market, industry and economy."

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