British new car registrations fell by around 40% year-on-year in January, according to preliminary industry data released on Thursday, after nearly all of the United Kingdom spent most of the month in lockdown.
Sales were at their lowest level for a January in decades, according to industry body the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT).
England, the most populous of the UK's four nations, and the Scottish mainland both became subject to stricter rules from Jan. 5, restricting people's movements and shutting many businesses to stop the spread of Covid-19.
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Car showrooms have been forced to close their doors to the public alongside other non-essential retail outlets, although many dealers are using online, delivery and click and collect services to continue to operate.
The SMMT will publish final figures for the month at 0900GMT on Thursday.
This story has been published from a wire agency feed without modifications to the text.