Company Car Today

The new car market showed only slight growth on 2020 as the semiconductor shortages brought on by the Covid-19 pandemic continued to hamper new car supply.

There were 1.65m new cars registered in 2021, a 1.0% increase on the pandemic-ravaged 2020 figure, although the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders said it expects the market to slowly improve in 2022 to around 1.96m new cars.

Battery electric vehicles were up 76.3% on 2020 to take 11.6% of the market, and the Tesla Model 3 made a huge impression, being the biggest-selling car in December with 9612, where only the Mini managed more than the Vauxhall Corsa’s 2608 in third place. That propelled the Model 3 up to second place in the overall 2021 model chart, topped by the Corsa with the Mini’s big December registration figure putting it third overall.

On top of the battery electric vehicle performance, plug-in hybrids were up 70.6% to take a 7.0% share of the market, meaning 18.6% of new cars sold last year can be plugged in, although diesel’s 14.2% share meant it was still the second best-selling powertrain behind petrol at 58.3%.

It’s been another desperately disappointing year for the car industry as Covid continues to cast a pall over any recovery,” said SMMT chief executive Mike Hawes. “Manufacturers continue to battle myriad challenges, with tougher trading arrangements, accelerating technology shifts and, above all, the global semiconductor shortage which is decimating supply.”

Hawes used the announcement of the figures to call for greater investment in public charging for the growing numbers of electric vehicles on the road, as well as the maintaining or improvement of incentives. “We need infrastructure, the biggest barriers continue to be cost, and all the surveys show concerns about infrastructure, particularly on-street; it’s one of the biggest barriers because people need to see continued investment in on-street charging.”


Top 10 new cars of 2021

  1. Vauxhall Corsa      40,914
  2. Tesla Model 3       34,783
  3. Mini  31,792
  4. Mercedes A-Class  30,710
  5. Volkswagen Polo   30,634
  6. Volkswagen Golf   30,240
  7. Nissan Qashqai      29,922
  8. Ford Puma   28,697
  9. Kia Sportage 27,611
  10. Toyota Yaris 27,415


Electric vehicle top 10

  1. Tesla Model 3       34,783
  2. Kia e-Niro   12,271
  3. Volkswagen ID.3   11,032
  4. Nissan Leaf  9052
  5. Audi e-tron  7396
  6. Hyundai Kona       7199
  7. Mini  6615
  8. Renault Zoe 5778
  9. Vauxhall Corsa-e   5605
  10. MG ZS        5380