Data revealed on Monday that UK new car registrations plunged in March as the evolving COVID-19 outbreak caused showrooms to close.
The Society of Motor Manufacturers & Traders (SMMT) said that UK new car registrations fell by 44% in March, which is a steeper decline than during the financial crisis.
Last month was the worst March since the late nineties, the SMMT added, with 203,370 fewer sold across the month.
Following government advice to contain the spread of the illness, showrooms have been closed.
Additionally, the SMMT downgraded its 2020 outlook to 1.73 million registrations. This is a 23% drop compared to the earlier outlook made in January, and 25% less than the 2.31 million registrations in 2019.
“With the country locked down in crisis mode for a large part of March, this decline will come as no surprise,” Mike Hawes, SMMT Chief Executive, commented on the data.
“Despite this being the lowest March since we moved to the bi-annual plate change system, it could have been worse had the significant advanced orders placed for the new 20 plate not been delivered in the early part of the month. We should not, however, draw long term conclusions from these figures other than this being a stark realisation of what happens when economies grind to a halt,” the Chief Executive continued.
The Chief Executive said: “How long the market remains stalled is uncertain, but it will reopen and the products will be there. In the meantime, we will continue to work with government to do all we can to ensure the thousands of people employed in this sector are ready for work and Britain gets back on the move.”