U.K. Car Sales Plunge 27% as Lockdown Shuts Dealerships

(Bloomberg) — Carmakers registered their lowest November sales in the U.K. since 2008 as lockdowns forced dealerships to shut back down.

Registrations slid 27% from a year ago to 113,781 cars, according to data from the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders. That’s the steepest decline since a 35% plunge in June.

November Pain

© Bloomberg
November Pain

England imposed a four-week lockdown that shuttered all non-essential stores after soaring infection rates risked overwhelming the health-care system. Other regions of the U.K., including Wales and Scotland, imposed similar measures.

“Compared with the spring lockdown, manufacturers, dealers and consumers were all better prepared to adjust to constrained trading conditions,” Mike Hawes, SMMT’s chief executive officer, said in a statement. “More positively, with a vaccine now approved, the business and consumer confidence on which this sector depends can only improve, giving the industry more optimism for the turn of the year.”

Video: CNBC Markets Now: December 03, 2020 (CNBC)

CNBC Markets Now: December 03, 2020



The industry is bracing for the country’s exit from the European Union, with negotiators so far unable to reach a deal to avert the levying of tariffs on vehicles and parts. Car sales have declined about 31% in the first 11 months, the SMMT said.

(Updates with final numbers in the headline and second paragraph.)

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