New car sales collapse in April 2020

  • UK new car sales down by 97% year on year
  • Coronavirus (COVID-19) forces dealers to close
  • Tesla Model 3 leads EV sales charge

Tesla Model 3 was the bestselling car in the UK in April 2020

The Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic has lead to this biggest monthly fall in UK new car sales since records began. The market declined by 97.3% in April compared with 2019, according to figures published by the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT).

This dramatic fall in sales is the result of the UK's car dealer networks being closed for the entire month as the country was effectively placed into lockdown. Just 4,321 new cars were registered during the month (which is 156,743 fewer than in April 2019), and is broadly inline with sales falls throughout the rest of Europe.

The glimmer of good news was that  sales for electric cars held up far better with a fall of just 9.7% compared with up to 99% for other fuel types. The Tesla Model 3 emerged as the UK's bestselling car for April, followed by the Jaguar I-Pace.

Although car sales operations were closed throughout April, dealers' workshops stayed open to support key workers, critical companies and frontline services. Servicing and repairs continue, too, although key workers are given priority treatment at this time.

Mike Hawes, SMMT Chief Executive, said: 'Safely restarting this most critical sector and revitalising what will, inevitably, be subdued demand will be key to unlocking manufacturing and accelerating the UK’s economic regeneration.'

Car dealers might be closed,but workshops mainly remained open