New car registrations almost ground to a halt in April after coronavirus lockdown measures were introduced, the motor industry has said.
Figures from industry body the SMMT show only 4,321 cars were registered, the lowest monthly level since 1946.
April’s figure marked a 97% plunge in sales from the same month last year.
The closure of car dealerships as part of measures to try to combat the disease has hit consumer registrations.
The Society for Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) said that of the registrations made last month, 70% were by companies buying for their fleets. The cars would most likely have been on order before the lockdown, said Mike Hawes, SMMT chief executive.
“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.