New car sales in the UK fell by more than a third in June compared with a year earlier, the first month that showrooms began to open after the coronavirus shutdown.
Sales data from the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders on Monday showed that 145,377 cars were sold during the month, compared with 223,421 in June 2019.
Dealerships and factories were closed in April and May because of the pandemic, and the industry was expecting slow trading in the weeks following reopening, with consumers wary about returning to showrooms and appetite dented by economic uncertainties.
Showrooms were permitted to reopen at the beginning of June in England, although one in five remained closed, and later elsewhere.
“The hoped-for release of pent-up sales has not yet occurred, with consumer confidence for big ticket purchases looking weak,” said SMMT chief executive Mike Hawes.
“Many of June’s registrations could be attributed to