Cars newly registered to fleets and businesses declined 17.6% in July compared to the same month in 2021, according to figures from the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT).

The 52,315 new cars registered is 11,000 less than a year ago, representing a 5% fall in market share year on year. During the same month the sales of private cars were stable, and new private registrations increased 3.7%.

It is more evidence of what a challenging market it has become for the fleet and business vehicle sector. In June we reported that rental car companies were prioritising retail over fleet sales, as manufacturers struggled to fulfil orders because of the continued crisis in the supply of raw materials.

“The automotive sector has had another tough month and is drawing on its fundamental resilience during a third consecutive challenging year as the squeeze on supply bedevils deliveries,” said Mike Hawes, chief executive of the SMMT.

Overall, new car registrations fell by 9% to reach 112,162 units in July. Some parts of the market are strong, however. The sale of BEVs (battery electric vehicles) grew 9.9%, and so far this year has seen a growth of 49%, with a 10.9% share of the new car market. However, supply shortages are also affecting the production of EVs.

The SMMT reported that the first half of 2022 proved more challenging than anticipated, due to the enduring severity and impact of the semiconductor shortage and the conflict in Ukraine. Covid lockdowns in the key manufacturing and logistics centre of China had not helped either, restricting production output and supply into the UK new car market.