NEW car registrations fell 24.3 per cent in June, according to the latest figures released by the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders - the weakest June performance since 1996.
The fall is mainly being caused by a shortage of semi-conductors and other essential components as well as pandemic restrictions among key suppliers.
Battery electric vehicles (BEVs) continued their growth streak, however,with a 14.6 per cent increase in volume,asmarket share continued to grow, reaching 16.1 per cent, up from 10.7 per cent a year before.
Conversely, plug-in hybrid electric vehicle uptake fell by 4,425 units to take a 5.5 per cent market share.
In total, plug-in vehicles comprised more than a fifth (21.6 per cent) of new cars joining the road in the month.
All other powertrains saw declines in registration volumes and market share apart from hybrid electric vehicles, which, despite a 1,172 unit fall,increased their market share to 10.6 per cent.
Declines were most significantinlarge fleets, which recorded a 27.6 per cent fall in registrations, while private consumer volumes dropped by a more modest 21.7 per cent.
As a result, the fleet and business share of the market reduced to 50.7 per cent as manufacturers prioritised private consumers in the supply-constrained environment.
Given theongoing shortages of essential components, exacerbated by pandemic restrictions in China, globalvehicleproduction has struggled to keep up with demand throughout 2022.
New car registrations for the year to date have fallen by 11.9 per cent to 802,079 units - the weakestfirst half yearperformance since 1992, bar 2020.
Some 107,894 fewer new cars have been registered during the first half of 2022 compared with the same period last year -despite 2021 demand being restricted by dealershiplockdownsuntil April,with consumersonlyable tobuy vehicles through click and collect.
The slowdown is more than had been anticipated, leaving the market behind the industry's outlook.Part of this fall is attributable to the continuingsupply chainshortagesthat are hamperingproductionof all models, but the scrappage of the plug-in car grant means the UK is now the only major European market without purchase incentives for private EV buyers.
Mike Hawes, SMMT chief executive,said: "The semiconductor shortage is stifling thenew car marketeven more than last year's lockdown.
"Electric vehicledemandcontinues tobe the one bright spot, asmore electric cars than ever take to the road, but whilethis growth iswelcome it is not yet enough to offset weak overall volumes, which has huge implications for fleet renewal and our ability to meet overall carbon reduction targets.
"With motorists facing rising fuel costs, however, the switch toanelectric carmakes ever more sense and the industry is working hard to improve supply and prioritise deliveries of these new technologies given the savings they can afford drivers."