New car registrations in Britain hit their lowest point since the year after World War Two in April, figures from the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) reveal.
Preliminary figures show a 97% fall in sales compared with the same month in 2019. 4000 cars were registered; the lowest monthly figure since 1946.
The figures were described as “no surprise” by SMMT chief executive Mike Hawes, with car dealerships forced to close throughout the month as part of measures to reduce the spread of the coronavirus. The government has begun talks to open dealers, with 11 May mooted as the earliest possible date, Autocar revealed last week.
The SMMT has said that 70% of those 4000 registrations are companies stocking up their fleets, meaning orders would have likely come in before the lockdown. Most other cars were sold to support key workers, mostly from wholesalers or direct from manufacturers via online channels.
The industry body has revised its forecast for 2020 as a whole, the BBC reports, expecting overall registrations to drop to 1.68 million compared with 2.3 million in 2019. 161,064 cars were registered in April last year.