LONDON -- British new-car registrations fell last month by 34 percent to 214,000, as manufacturing constraints caused by a shortage of computer chips reduced factory output.
The number marked the weakest September for at least 23 years.
September, along with March, is usually a bumper month for registrations because license plates that denote the age of a vehicle are updated and buyers like to show they have the newest model.
However, the global shortage of semiconductors impacted vehicle availability, the industry association SMMT said in a statement on Tuesday.
"This is a desperately disappointing September and further evidence of the ongoing impact of the COVID pandemic on the sector," SMMT Chief Executive Officer Mike Hawes said in the statement. "Despite strong demand for new vehicles over the summer, three successive months have been hit by stalled supply due to reduced semiconductor availability."
With widespread panic-buying at the petrol pumps late last month caused by a shortage of goods vehicle drivers, the SMMT said more than 32,000 battery-powered cars were registered last month, a new record and only slightly fewer that the 5,000 total for all of 2019.