New car sales reach 145,000 in June as dealers reopen

New car registrations were down 34.9 per cent year-on-year in June 2020, with showrooms having reopened to customers

A total of 145,377 new cars were registered in the UK in June 2020 – down 34.9 per cent year-on-year – with dealers having reopened their doors to customers.

The UK’s coronavirus lockdown forced dealerships to shut down on 23 March. This resulted in new car registrations declining 97.3 per cent year-on-year in April and 89 per cent in May.

  • Best-selling cars in the UK 2020

On 1 June, car dealerships in England were allowed to reopen, with businesses in the rest of the UK following not long after. The result was a less drastic decline than the previous two months, with car sales slowly but surely starting to move back up again.

The SMMT (Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders), which published the figures, said the 34.9 per cent decline that persisted reflected “uncertain economic confidence”, as well as the fact car dealerships in Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland hadn’t been allowed to open at the same time as those in England.

There was also the possibility that consumers held off in expectation that the Government would announce incentives for new car buyers, with rumours of a scrappage scheme having been reported in the media. The Government has since ruled out any new incentives for car buyers.

There were 72,827 private new car registrations in June 2020 – down 19.2 per cent year-on-year – while fleet and business sales were 69,498 (down 45.2 per cent) and 3,052 (down 52.6 per cent) respectively.

Mike Hawes, chief executive of the SMMT, commented: “While it’s welcome to see demand rise above the rock-bottom levels we saw during lockdown, this is not a recovery and barely a restart. Many of June’s registrations could be attributed to customers finally being able to collect their pre-pandemic orders, and appetite for significant spending remains questionable. 

“The Government must boost the economy, help customers feel safer in their jobs and in their spending, and give businesses the confidence to invest in their fleets. Otherwise, it runs the risk of losing billions more in revenue from this critical sector at a time when the public purse needs it more than ever.”

Did you buy a new car in June? Let us know how it went in the comments section…

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