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UK Car Sales Plummets By 89 Percent As Coronavirus Wreaks Economic Havok

UK new car registrations fell -89.0% in May, according to figures published today by the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT). Some 20,247 cars were registered in the month, as ‘click and collect’ services, allowed from mid-month, saw some movement in the market. However, with 163,477 fewer registrations than in the same month last year, the performance still marked the lowest May since 1952.

Private buyers accounted for the lion’s share of registrations at 63.7% of the market, equivalent to 12,900 units, while 6,638 cars went to fleets. There were severe declines across all segments and fuel types, apart from battery electric vehicles, with 429 more units registered year on year in this exceptional month as pre-orders of the latest premium models were delivered to customers.


The overall market is now down -51.4% in the first five months of 2020, at just over half a million registrations compared with more than one million at this point last year. The news comes in the week that UK car showrooms in England were given the green light to re-open following more than two months of lost trading.

In Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland (until next week), however, car showrooms remain closed.


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