2020 hits 1.6m new cars as SMMT delays 2021 forecast

  06 January 2021

New car registrations dropped to 1.63 million in 2020 as the UK market was struck by the impact of showroom closures throughout the year. Retail registrations of new cars in 2020 were down 26.6%.

With more lockdowns in place already in 2021, the SMMT has abandoned its usual initial new car registration forecasting for 2021, however it has said the UK is unlikely to reach 2m units this year and that it would return to forecasting later in the year when the impact of the latest measures had been calculated.

The industry is concerned that if the current lockdowns across the UK continue into March there will be a marked impact on 2021.

Commenting on the figures, NFDA chief executive, Sue Robinson said: “It is encouraging that despite the issues affecting the automotive industry and the economy, the EV market continued to grow, showing an increase in consumer appetite and rewarding the efforts dealers are making to meet the demand.

“Although physical showrooms must remain closed over the coming weeks, franchised dealers have demonstrated their ability to adapt, providing ‘click & collect’ services to customers in a safe and compliant manner. This cannot fully replace the traditional buying experience but will offset some of the issues facing businesses over the coming months.

“Overall, 2020 was a difficult year and the recently announced third national lockdown will be challenging for franchised retailers. However, in the longer term the signing of an agreement with the EU, the shift to EVs and the resilient nature of franchised dealers mean they are well placed for growth”.

The UK new car market saw a -10.9% decline in December with 132,682 units registered.





2020 new car registrations

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