The automotive industry briefing

The latest news, views and numbers you need to know this month

News in Numbers


Sales in the UK new car market increased just 1% in 2021, according to the SMMT


UK car production fell 6.7% year-on-year in 2021; worst year since 1956


The percentage of new car sales financed by FLA member in the 12 months to November


Volkswagen brand vehicle sales were down 8.1% year-on-year in 2021


Over a quarter of UK new car market sales are electrified in some form


Car finance new business volumes up 33% in November

New business volumes in the UK consumer car finance market rose by 33% year-on-year in November, according to the latest statistics from the Finance & Leasing Association (FLA).

Startline posts 25% growth in new motor finance business in 2021

Startline Motor Finance has posted 25% year-on-year growth in new motor finance business in 2021, while staff numbers also rose, from 129 to 160 people.

V12 Vehicle Finance pledges green car fleet by 2024

V12 Vehicle Finance has committed to introducing a fully electric and hybrid fleet by June 2024 as part of its plan to reduce its carbon emissions.

Renault to axe 300 fewer posts by 2024

Departure targets at Renault for next 2022-2024 plan have been readjusted: from 2,000 to fewer than 1,700 departures.


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

Mike Hawes, SMMT chief executive, commenting on 2021’s new car sales figures

British Ports Association chief executive Richard Ballantyne, following UK Chancellor Rishi Sunak’s announcement that the Freeports selection process will see the first sites in England set up by the end of 2021:

“This is a welcome development and by being more inclusive in terms of the number of freeports there might be, the government can now explore how to better deliver on its levelling up agenda without picking regions over each other. Coastal communities are often in areas of high deprivation and have also experienced challenges resulting from the coronavirus pandemic and lockdown so this potentially transformative policy will be welcomed across a range of suitable locations.”

The huge increase in choice of electric vehicles and their improved affordability means the leasing sector will also continue to outperform the wider new car market in 2022, as it has done for several years. And personal leasing will gain market share from rival finance products as savvy consumers look to access the latest technology in the face of rising new car prices.

Paul Harrison, head of strategic partnerships at, on the potential trends we could see in 2022

The combined business would be instrumental in moving the automotive industry from ownership to subscription models and zero-emission mobility. By joining forces with ALD, we combine the best talents in the industry with the investment power needed to meet the next generation mobility needs of our customers.

Tex Gunning, chief executive of LeasePlan, speaking on the acquisition of LeasePlan by ALD Automotive