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UK new car sales up 18% in December- SMMT

Cars are displayed outside a showroom in west London

(Reuters) - British new car registrations rose for the fifth consecutive month in December, with an 18% increase to about 128,000, according to preliminary industry data released on Thursday.

However, overall registrations for 2022 fell 2% to 1.61 million units as compared with 2021, amid pandemic-related global parts shortages, according to the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT).

Battery electric vehicles claimed their largest ever monthly market share of 32.9% of registrations in December, while for 2022 they comprised 16.6%, as ongoing supply chain snags led manufactures to prioritise deliveries of the latest zero emission capable models.

"The automotive market remains adrift of its pre-pandemic performance, but could well buck wider economic trends by delivering significant growth in 2023," said Mike Hawes, chief executive, SMMT.

The SMMT will provide the final figures for December at 0900 GMT.

(Reporting by Sinchita Mitra in Bengaluru; Editing by Shailesh Kuber)