UK new car sales plunge 40% in March

Kuwait Times - - Business -

LONDON: New car reg­is­tra­tions in Bri­tain fell by an an­nual 40% in March as the coro­n­avirus cri­sis hit the econ­omy and forced many would-be buy­ers to stay at home, pre­lim­i­nary data from an in­dus­try group showed yes­ter­day. Sales to­talled around 250,000 units, mak­ing it the weak­est March-typ­i­cally one of the top two sell­ing months of the yearsince 1999 when bi-an­nual plate changes were in­tro­duced. Bri­tish Prime Min­is­ter Boris John­son or­dered a shut­down of much of the econ­omy last month as his gov­ern­ment sought to slow the spread of coro­n­avirus.

March ac­counted for nearly 20 per­cent of to­tal reg­is­tra­tions in 2019 as it is one of two an­nual oc­ca­sions when a new li­cense plate se­ries is is­sued.

Car sales in Bri­tain have been fall­ing since hit­ting a record high in 2016. The SMMT’s lat­est fore­cast, pub­lished in Jan­uary, pre­dicted a drop in full-year de­mand of just over 2.5 per­cent to 2.25 mil­lion cars. The So­ci­ety for Mo­tor Man­u­fac­tur­ers and Traders is due to pub­lish its full data for March at 0800 GMT. —Reuters

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