New car sales fell by 27% in November to 42,800.
The number of new car sales was down to levels not seen since the 2008 recession due to car room showrooms to close during the nationwide lockdown.
“Compared with the spring lockdown, manufacturers, dealers and consumers were all better prepared to adjust to constrained trading conditions,” said Mike Hawes, SMMT Chief Executive.
“But with £1.3 billion worth of new car revenue lost in November alone, the importance of showroom trading to the UK economy is evident and we must ensure they remain open in any future Covid restrictions.
“More positively, with a vaccine now approved, the business and consumer confidence on which this sector depends can only improve, giving the industry more optimism for the turn of the year,” he added.
Plug-in hybrid vehicle market share of sales increased to 6.8% and battery electric vehicle market share of new sales increased to 9.1%.
The SMMT explained for the continuing demand for battery and hybrid vehicles: “Market share for battery electric vehicles (BEVs) and plug-in hybrid vehicles (PHEVs) continued to grow significantly, up 122.4% and 76.9% respectively.
“BEVs recorded their third highest ever monthly share of registrations at 9.1%, while PHEV share increased to 6.8% – a combined total of more than 18,000 new zero-emission capable cars joining Britain’s roads.”