UK new car sales in April lowest since 1946


FILE PHOTO: UK car sales crash in April on virus lockdown
(Photo: Matt Cardy/Getty Images).
FILE PHOTO: UK car sales crash in April on virus lockdown (Photo: Matt Cardy/Getty Images).

BRITISH new car sales slumped by around 97 per cent in April to the lowest level of any month since February 1946 with factories and dealerships shut due to the coronavirus outbreak, industry data showed Tuesday (5).



Lockdown measures have been in place across Europe since mid-March to contain the pandemic, leading to the closure of many businesses and limiting people’s movements.

In February 1946, just a few months after the end of World War Two, just 4,044 new cars were sold in Britain, which was still undergoing rationing and trying to rebuild after wartime destruction, under its first majority Labour government.

Last month, around 4,000 cars were registered with most of the sales being fleet purchases, according to preliminary data from the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT).



That was the worst performance since February 1946 and compared with 161,000 cars in the same month of 2019.

The SMMT further downgraded its full-year forecast to 1.68 million registrations compared with last year’s total of 2.31 million cars, a 27-per cent drop in sales.

The industry body added that car showrooms were closed for the lockdown — which was implemented nationwide on March 23 — but some deliveries did take place, particularly for fleets.