Coronavirus Leading To Drop In Car Sales And Registrations

The coronavirus crisis has had a profound effect on various industries, costing thousands of jobs. Many businesses have witnessed a major decline as the outbreak causes great financial strain. The car industry has been greatly affected. According to recent information, March 2020 saw a considerable drop in the number of new registrations, indicating how badly the pandemic has impacted the automobile industry.

drop in car registration
When Coronavirus hit, there was a significant reduction in car registrations across the UK

Based on information compiled by the Society for Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT), car registrations have decreased by more than two-fifths compared to 2019.

Normally High Sales in March

Under normal circumstances, the month of March is one of the most productive periods of the year for the automobile industry. However, due to the lockdown, motorists are not leaving their homes to purchase or register new vehicles. This has had an inevitable knock-on effect on the car trade.

New UK number plates come out in March and September annually which usually causes a spike in registrations. However, in March of this year, the rate fell by almost a quarter of a million compared to 12 months earlier. All in all, there were approximately 250,000 new registrations in the past month, the lowest March number in over twenty years.

The decrease in car registrations in the UK highlights the devastating impact coronavirus has had on the car industry. This is on top of declining sales and calls for diesel vehicle production to halt. The response to coronavirus has seen every major factory in the UK stop building cars. Even though restrictions are now easing, there is no way of knowing for now when full production may start up again.

Both private and company car sales affected

The car industry has seen a decline in demand from both private buyers and large fleets. The sale of new petrol cars has fallen by almost half, while there are 60% fewer new diesel cars on the road now.

On the other hand, the motor trade has seen the number of battery-powered vehicles being registered increase by over 11,000 cars. Plug-in hybrids went up by almost two-fifths.


However, going by the findings of the SMMT, it is believed the number of car sales is set to fall this year by around a quarter. It is anticipated the number of vehicles sold maybe around 1.7 million, a major decline compared to 2019.

A drop in engine production of 75%, as well the fall sales, drives home how the UK car industry is being affected by the coronavirus outbreak. There is no way of knowing when manufacturing may turn around and sales begin to improve.