London, UK – The number of new cars registered in the UK in April 2020 was down 97.3% to 4321 vehicles. The last time the number of vehicles registered was lower than this was February 1946, said according to the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT).
It said there were 156,743 fewer vehicles registered in April 2020 than in April 2019. The size of the fall was so great because all of the UK's showrooms were closed in the light of the coronavirus lockdown.
'[It is] the steepest of modern times, and is in line with similar falls across Europe, with France 88.6% and the Italian market falling 97.5% in April,' the group said.
Fleet orders accounted for 71.5% of sales. Private buyers purchased 871 cars in the month, a fall of 98.7% on April last year. Most of the fleet vehicles went to key workers.
SMMT predicts that the total number of new cars registered in the UK this year will be 1.68m. If the forecast holds, it will be the worst performance since 1992, when 1.59m vehicles were registered.
In the first four months of the year, 487,878 cars were registered in the UK, down 43% on the 862,100 registered in the same period in 2019.