Press release

5 May 2021 London, GB

David Borland, EY UK & Ireland Automotive Leader, comments on SMMT new car registration figures for April 2021

David Borland, EY UK & Ireland Automotive Leader, comments on SMMT new car registration figures for April 2021

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Adam Holden

Senior Manager, Media Relations, Ernst & Young LLP

Passionate media relations and public relations professional helping to provide insight and clarity to complex business issues. Husband and father to twin boys, and a golden retriever.

Related topics Automotive

Showrooms reopen in April

“One year on from the first full month of lockdown, April recorded new cars sales of 141,583 which is a dramatic 3,176% rise from last year when only 4,321 cars were sold. April 2020 was the lowest level since 1946 as showrooms were closed for the whole month, so the wild percentage increase should be put into context. It is also worth bearing in mind that compared to the same month in 2019, April 2021 was 12% down, another sign that we have some way to go in the recovery. 

“That said, in the last 12 months, the industry has shown resilience and an incredible ability to reinvent itself – finding ways to continue to meet customers’ needs whilst respecting the many changes due to the pandemic.

“Click and collect, home delivery and contact free sales were in their infancy one year ago, but innovative ways of working have been embraced by dealers and manufacturers alike, and they are likely to remain relevant as we move forwards.  

“With dealers reopening from April 12th, we saw a return to a more balanced channel mix, with retail achieving almost 44% market share vs just 20% in April 2020.  

“The electrified market continues to grow having a total year to date market share of 13.6%, double 2020 the share of 6.8%.

The Chips are down

“The ongoing issues around semiconductor shortages continues to significantly impact many industries, of which automotive is one of the most severely affected.

“One reason being that the automotive sector contributed only 4% to the revenue of one of the largest semiconductor manufacturers, while smartphones and high-performance computing contributed 82% to their revenue. This clearly places the automotive sector lower down in the pecking order for deliveries. 

“Although the semiconductor production shortfall is not expected to last beyond this year, it will result in an estimated 2.2 million fewer vehicles produced globally through the end of 2021. This will undoubtedly impact jobs and revenue, with manufacturers’ Q1 quarterly earnings reports including significant losses through the rest of the year due to the shortage.”

EY have prepared more detailed analysis of the issue, with one article How suppliers can build a robust supply chain to overcome future shortages.

The road ahead

“The SMMT has revised its full year forecast for 2021 to 1.86 million registrations, up 13.9% on 2020. EY ITEM Club expects the UK economy to grow by 6.8% in 2020, a significant upgrade from its forecast of 5% expansion in its January forecast. With this backdrop, the continued success of the vaccine roll-out and easing of lockdown restrictions, there are reasons to be confident that despite the first third of the year being the toughest for the industry, the recovery continues apace.”