Feel-good factor so important even in motor industry

Electric charging point

Way ahead - car charging points - Credit: PA

New car registrations grew year on year in June by 28% but the numbers were clouded by the lockdown in 2020 due to the Covid pandemic.  
Compared with the last decade, average registrations were down 16.4% and manufacturer’s expectations for the second quarter were down as a result of the semi-conductor shortage. 
Private registrations were up 30.8% but were not as buoyant as the fleet sector, which was up 47.8% in line with the year-to-date performance. 
Mike Hawes, SMMT Chief Executive said “The semi-conductor shortage arising from Covid-constrained output globally are affecting vehicle production, disrupting supply on certain models and restricting the automotive recovery.” 
However, optimism is expected to improve further as consumers’ orders increase for the next plate change in September. 
Electric powered vehicles continue to grow with battery electric vehicles and plug-in hybrids taking over 17% of the market and as a result, the Tesla 3 was the best selling in the month. Hybrids and mild hybrids took up a further 28.3% of the market to accelerate this growth, as consumers recognise the benefits of cleaner air with lower emissions.  
This has been followed by the Nissan announcement of a £1bn investment in the UK, which could create up to 5,500 new jobs, as well as the expected confirmation Vauxhall will produce an electric van at Ellesmere Port, safeguarding a further 1000 jobs. 
New van sales increased by 14.4% as business continues to bounce back and this means the first six months of 2021 are the third best ever. As with cars, semi-conductor shortages are affecting supply and will continue throughout 2021. 
Used cars continue to sell at high levels and auction prices show no likelihood of falling in the near future, while a shortage of good clean product remains. 
Traffic has almost returned to pre-pandemic levels and is expected to do so after the relaxations on July 19 and the country attempts to live normal lives again.  
Pressure will remain on Councils and businesses to encourage people to use bicycles to go to work or visit city centres and this will mean more cycle lanes putting more pressure on car movement.  
This comes at a time when holidaymakers choosing to visit Devon and Cornwall are filling car parks and causing congestion on our roads. These visitors are vital to the hospitality economy and are certainly helping the area to gain some well-deserved income and provide confidence to new investors.  
With outdoor events returning to make the holiday break even more enjoyable and the prospect of full stadiums for sporting events following England’s success in the UEFA Euro competition will be welcome for both spectators, clubs and venues around the UK.  
This feel-good factor is so necessary as we all rebuild our lives after the stress of the past fifteen months and meet friends and family who have been unable or reluctant to travel during this time.  
We thank the NHS for their incredible work in saving so many lives but we all are desperate to move forward safely. The motor car will play its part. 
Stay safe and keep smiling. I am looking forward to the 19th.