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UK new car registrations rise 1.2% in August on battery EV sales

·1-min read
FILE PHOTO: Cars are displayed outside a showroom in west London

(Reuters) - The UK's new car registrations rose 1.2% in August from a year earlier, snapping five-straight months of declines, largely boosted by growth in battery electric vehicles (BEVs), according to industry data released on Monday.

The Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) said registrations in August, which is considered the second quietest month of the year, were up at 68,858 units from 68,033 units a year earlier, as many buyers choose to wait for a 'new' numberplate in September.

"Spiralling energy costs and inflation on top of sustained supply chain challenges are piling even more pressure on the automotive industry's post-pandemic recovery, and we urgently need the new Prime Minister to tackle these challenges and restore confidence and sustainable growth," SMMT Chief Executive Officer Mike Hawes said.

The auto market has been spiralling with cost-of-living squeeze in Britain and the impact of persisting chip shortages across the globe.

"With September traditionally a bumper time for new car uptake, next month will be the true barometer of industry recovery," Hawes added.

The year-to-date registrations which came in at 983,099 units were, however, down nearly a third from pre-pandemic 2019 and 10.7% lower from 2021.

Sales in BEVs showed a 35.4% increase in volumes and a 14.5% market share. However, SMMT warned that the growth in the segment is slowing, with a year-to-date increase of 48.8%, whereas at the end of first-quarter, BEV registrations had been jumped 101.9%.

(Reporting by Shanima A in Bengaluru; Editing by Maju Samuel and Rashmi Aich)