UK car sales declines to lowest level since 1946 due to coronavirus

by SpeedLux
a busy london street

UK car sales figures from industry body the Society for Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) show that only 4,321 cars were registered in April 2020, the lowest monthly level since 1946.

April’s figure showed a 97% decline in sales from the same month last year.

The closure of auto dealerships have been carried out as part of measures to try to fight the spread of coronavirus. This has hit consumer registrations.

The SMMT said that 70% of April car registrations made last month, were by companies buying for their fleets. The vehicles would most likely have been on order prior to the lockdown, said Mike Hawes, CEO of SMMT.

“If you have been told to shut all your car showrooms for the whole April it’s no surprise sales are almost non-existent,” he informed the BBC.

Many of the 4,000 cars sold last month were required to support key workers and for those who had a pressing requirement for them, said SMMT spokesman.

Those cars would not have been purchased from dealerships, but instead, for example, from wholesalers, or directly from the car manufacturer.

The 4,000 figure for April compares to 161,064 new cars that were sold in same month in 2019.

The industry body stated it now expects 1.68 million new car registrations in 2020 compared with 2.3 million in last year.

Workers at some of the UK car manufacturers started to get back to work this week, although the start of full production is a long way to go, Hawes said. The supply chain is also starting to resume its operation.

“Manufacturers are attempting to find out how to start operations in a safe environment,” he stated. “But it will be slow and production will be increased very slowly.”

The coronavirus crisis occurred when the automakers were already having a difficult time due to falling sales and a decrease in demand for diesel vehicles.

The sales estimates are expected to be the lowest sales since February 1946.

Coronavirus has so far infected more than 194,990 people in the UK and killed more than 29,427 people in the country.

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