Car dealerships closed, demand decreased. The number of new registrations dropped rapidly due to the coronavirus measures.
The closure of car dealerships as part of the Corona measures has hit the automotive industry hard in Britain too, the Financial Times reports. The preliminary figures from the industry association SMMT show that only around 4000 cars were registered in April. This is the lowest monthly level since 1946. In April, sales decreased by 97% compared to the same month in the previous year.
The Society for Automobile Manufacturers and Dealers (SMMT) said that out of these 4,000 registrations, around 70 percent came from companies that bought for their fleets. The cars would most likely have been ordered before the closure, said Mike Hawes, SMMT general manager. In contrast, private individuals bought almost no new vehicles.
“When all car dealerships close for April as a whole, it’s no surprise that there are almost no sales,” Hawes told the BBC. Many of the 4,000 cars sold last month were needed to support key employees.
The automotive industry in the UK is only slowly starting to roll again. Some British automakers are returning to work this week. The start of full production is still a long way off, emphasizes Hawes. “Manufacturers are trying to figure out how to start operating in a safe environment,” he said. “But it will be slow and production will start up very slowly.”