Steep de­cline in car sales lev­el­ling out af­ter small­est fall since Fe­bru­ary

The Daily Telegraph - Business - - Business - By Alan Tovey

NEW car sales suf­fered their small­est de­cline since Fe­bru­ary as automotive firms be­gan to get back into gear, in­dus­try fig­ures show.

A to­tal of 145,377 new cars were reg­is­tered in June, ac­cord­ing to the So­ci­ety of Mo­tor Man­u­fac­tur­ers and Traders (SMMT). It was a drop of 34.9pc on the same month a year ago, but a stronger per­for­mance than March, April and May – when de­mand was down by a re­spec­tive 44pc, 97pc and 89pc.

Over­all sales to the end of May stood at 324,763, down 42pc on the same pe­riod in 2019.

Deal­ers in England re­opened their doors at the start of last month, fol­lowed soon af­ter by Scot­land and Wales. How­ever, it is feared that even if de­mand con­tin­ues to re­cover, car firms may strug­gle to pro­duce enough ve­hi­cles to take ad­van­tage due to anti-Covid mea­sures and the bleak eco­nomic pic­ture.

Seán Kem­ple, di­rec­tor of sales at Close Broth­ers Mo­tor Fi­nance, said: “Faced with so­cial dis­tanc­ing restrictio­ns, job losses and fall­ing prof­its, it will be no easy task for man­u­fac­tur­ers to kick-start production to pre-Covid-19 lev­els.

“Be­yond the im­me­di­ate up­lift, once avail­able stock has been swept off the fore­courts, buy­ers will likely face long wait­ing times for their cars, which will slow re­cov­ery.”

Re­search by mag­a­zine and web­site What Car? found that one in three po­ten­tial buy­ers are putting off pur­chases in the hope the Gov­ern­ment will of­fer cash sup­port to boost the mar­ket.

SMMT chief ex­ec­u­tive Mike Hawes de­scribed the lat­est fig­ures as “not a re­cov­ery and barely a restart”. He added that many of the cars counted in June’s fig­ures were those sold be­fore lock­down, with mo­torists only be­ing able to col­lect them as restrictio­ns ease.

Con­cerns about us­ing pub­lic trans­port dur­ing the coro­n­avirus cri­sis have pushed up the price of used cars as peo­ple see driv­ing as a safer al­ter­na­tive to trains and buses.

There has been par­tic­u­lar in­ter­est for smaller, cheaper sec­ond­hand cars ac­cord­ing to price track­ing firm Cap HPI.

Thou­sands of new cars are be­ing held in storage in Corby, Northamp­ton­shire, in­stead of in show­rooms due to a fall in sales amid the Covid-19 pan­demic. New car sales dropped by 34.9pc last month, ac­cord­ing to the SMMT

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from UK

© PressReader. All rights reserved.