New car sales nearly ended in April after the launch of coronavirus lockout measures, the auto industry reported.
Just 4,000 cars were registered from the SMMT industry body preliminary estimates, the lowest monthly number since 1946.
April’s result marked a decrease in sales of 97 per cent last year from the same month.
Closing car dealerships as part of initiatives aiming to combat the epidemic has affected vehicle registrations.
Auto industry reports a huge drop in prices
The Society for Vehicle Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) said 70 percent of those 4,000 registrations were by companies buying for their fleets. Most possibly, the cars should have been on order previous to the lockout, said SMMT chief executive Mike Hawes.
“When you’re advised to shutter all of your car showrooms in April, it’s no joke that sales are virtually non-existent,” he spoke to the BBC.
Many of the 4,000 cars last month were to help key staff and for others who had a urgent need for them, an SMMT spokesman said.
Those vehicles may not have come from dealerships, but either from wholesalers, for example, or directly from suppliers.
The April number of 4,000 is similar to 161,064 new cars registered last year in the same month.
The automotive body said they niw planned to record 1,68 million new cars in 2020 compared to 2,3 million in 2019.
Staff at some UK car factories have begun to return to work this week, while full production starts a long way off, Mr. Hawes said. Even beginning to re-open the supply chain.
“In a secure environment, the suppliers are trying to work out how to continue operations,” he said. “But it will be gradual and production will be ramped up very slowly.”
The coronavirus outbreak has come at what was already a challenging time for the auto industry. Which has struggled with declining prices and a drop in demand for diesel cars. While trying to reach stringent new pollution goals.