Car sales in the UK plunged to its lowest level since 1946 due to the coronavirus lockdown measures imposed in the country, the motor industry said on Tuesday.

The Society for Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) said that only 4,321 cars were registered in April, the BBC reported. April's figure marked a 97 per cent plunge in sales from the same month last year when 161,064 new cars were registered.

The closure of car dealerships as part of measures to try to combat the disease has hit consumer registrations. The SMMT said that of the registrations made last month, 70 per cent were by companies buying for their fleets.

Non-existent sales

BMW
Representational Image Pixabay

The cars would most likely have been on order before the lockdown, said SMMT Chief Executive Mike Hawes. "If you are told to close all your car showrooms for the entirety of April it's no surprise sales are almost non-existent," he told the BBC.

Many of the 4,000 cars sold last month were needed to support key workers and for those who had a pressing need for them, an SMMT spokesman said. The industry body said it now expects 1.68 million new car registrations in 2020 compared with 2.3 million in 2019. Besides sales, the coronavirus pandemic has also halted car production in the UK, reports the BBC. All of the UK's major car factories suspended work in March, and it is not yet clear when they will reopen.