January 23, 2021
car

Weakest September in two decades as UK new car sales drop more than 4%

A sales person at a Vauxhall car dealership in north London on June 4, 2020, the week when showrooms in England were allowed to reopen post COVID-19 lockdown. Photo: Justin Tallis AFP via Getty Images
A sales person at a Vauxhall car dealership in north London on June 4, 2020, the week when showrooms in England were allowed to reopen post COVID-19 lockdown. Photo: Justin Tallis AFP via Getty Images

New car registrations in the UK dropped by 4.4% in September, compared to the same month last year, as the coronavirus pandemic continues to hurt demand.

According to the latest data from the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders, last month’s 328,041 new registrations marked the weakest September in 20 years, and a nearly 16% drop on the 10-year average of 390,000 for the month.

September is traditionally one of the two best months in the year for sales, as it is when licence plates change.

“During a torrid year, the automotive industry has demonstrated incredible resilience, but this is not a recovery,” said SMMT chief executive Mike Hawes in a statement. “Despite the boost

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car

UK new car market suffers worst September in two decades

The UK’s new car market suffered its worst September in two decades, as economic uncertainty hampered trading in the second busiest month in the dealership calendar.

Just 328,041 cars were registered in the month, the lowest since 1999, when the licence plate system was introduced that turned September and April into totemic sales months because of their new plates.

Sales were 4.4 per cent lower than a year earlier, a modest drop that masks the extent of the fall because September 2019’s sales were unusually low, according to figures from the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders.

Last month’s figures were 15 per cent below the typical September average over the past decade, the SMMT said.

“This is not a recovery,” said Mike Hawes, SMMT chief executive. “Unless the pandemic is controlled and economy-wide consumer and business confidence rebuilt, the short-term future looks very challenging indeed.”

Many in the industry

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