Britain has suffered its weakest January car sales in 51 years, as showroom closures brought the market to a near standstill.
The Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) said on Thursday that just 90,249 new vehicles were registered across the UK last month, down 40% on last year. SMMT said the new car registrations total was the lowest in January since 1970.
“Following a £20.4bn [$27.7bn] loss of revenue last year, the auto industry faces a difficult start to 2021,” said SMMT chief executive Mike Hawes.
Sales of diesel vehicles fell by 62%, while petrol car sales dropped 50%. Demand for electric vehicles rose by 8% and hybrid sales grew by 34%.
The headline slump was caused by lockdown restrictions across the UK, which meant car showrooms were shut.
Hawes called for showrooms to be opened