UK new car sales plunge 40% in March as coronavirus crisis hits

Sales totalled around 250,000 units, making it the weakest March since 1999.
By : Reuters
| Updated on: 06 Apr 2020, 12:26 PM
File photo used for representational purpose only. (REUTERS)
File photo used for representational purpose only. (REUTERS)
File photo used for representational purpose only. (REUTERS)
File photo used for representational purpose only.

New car registrations in Britain fell by an annual 40% in March as the coronavirus crisis hit the economy and forced many would-be buyers to stay at home, preliminary data from an industry group showed on Monday.

Sales totalled around 250,000 units, making it the weakest March -- typically one of the top two selling months of the year -- since 1999 when bi-annual plate changes were introduced.

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson ordered a shutdown of much of the economy last month as his government sought to slow the spread of coronavirus.

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March accounted for nearly 20% of total registrations in 2019 as it is one of two annual occasions when a new licence plate series is issued.

Car sales in Britain have been falling since hitting a record high in 2016. The SMMT's latest forecast, published in January, predicted a drop in full-year demand of just over 2.5% to 2.25 million cars.

The Society for Motor Manufacturers and Traders is due to publish its full data for March at 0800 GMT.

First Published Date: 06 Apr 2020, 12:26 PM IST
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