Car Sales

U.K. Car Sales Start Year at 51-Year Low With Dealers Shut

(Bloomberg) — U.K. car sales got off to the slowest start in half a century as dealerships were among the businesses forced to shut their doors to contain the resurgent coronavirus.

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Registrations plunged 40% in January to 90,249 cars, the lowest for the month since 1970, according to the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders. Battery-electric models remained a rare bright spot with sales growing 54%, though they still represent just 6.9% of the market.

The U.K.’s auto lobby group cut its 2021 sales forecast by 5% to less than 1.9 million cars and called for showrooms to be opened as soon as Covid-19 cases are suppressed to protect employment. More than 10,000 jobs were cut across the sector last year and post-Brexit trade complications are weighing on the industry’s recovery prospects.

“Every day that showrooms can safely open will matter,” Mike Hawes, SMMT’s chief executive officer, said

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UK new car sales fall 40% in January as lockdown bites

Just over 90,000 new cars were sold in the UK in the slowest January for more than 50 years, according to industry figures released on Thursday.



a car parked in a parking lot: Photograph: Justin Tallis/AFP/Getty Images


© Provided by The Guardian
Photograph: Justin Tallis/AFP/Getty Images

Sales fell 40% compared with January 2020 to 90,249, as the closure of car showrooms under lockdown compounded the economic gloom.

The Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) said the uptake of “click and collect” sales had prevented an even greater fall, but could not avert the worst start to a year since 1970.

The SMMT forecasts that 2021 sales will rebound slightly from the depths of 2020, but said the industry would face a very subdued and challenging year, with showroom closures depressing demand and manufacturing output. New car sales fell by 29% last year to 1.63m vehicles, the lowest level since 1992.

Mike Hawes, the SMMT’s chief executive, said: “Following

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