Auto Sales In Britain Close To Zero In April.
“Manufacturers are trying to start operations safely. But it will be slow and production will be ramped up very slowly”
Sales of cars and SUVs in the U.K. were almost zero in April, probably no surprise given the entire manufacturing industry had shut down, dealerships were closed and most of the population remained at home.
Most of the actual 4,321 vehicles sold in April were to companies buying to renew their fleets, so were ordered long before industry shutdown because of the coronavirus.
The Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders, which speaks for the U.K. auto industry, said sales in April were 97.3% down on the same month of 2019. Sales for the year are now expected to slide to 1.68 million compared with 2.3 million in 2019.
UK car manufacturers have begun to reopen factories, although full production is some way off, Mike Hawes, SMMT chief executive said.
“Manufacturers are trying to figure out how to start operations in a safe environment,” he said. “But it will be slow and production will be ramped up very slowly,” Hawes said.
“With the UK’s showrooms closed for the whole of April, the market’s worst performance in living memory is hardly surprising. These figures, however, still make for exceptionally grim reading, not least for the hundreds of thousands of people whose livelihoods depend on the sector,” Hawes said.
“A strong new car market supports a healthy economy and as Britain starts to plan for recovery, we need car retail to be in the vanguard. Safely restarting this most critical sector and revitalising what will, inevitably, be subdued demand will be key to unlocking manufacturing and accelerating the UK’s economic regeneration,” Hawes said.