November new car registrations believed to have dropped by a third as lockdown hurts dealers

Time 8:29 am, December 3, 2020

New car registrations are set to have fallen by a third in November according to preliminary figures seen by Car Dealer.

The new car market is expected to have dropped by 27 per cent during the month as showrooms were forced to close by the second national lockdown.

Retail sales are believed to have dropped by 34 per cent during the month.

The drop tallies with reports from dealer bosses who have told Car Dealer that their sales have been at around 80 per cent of last year.

Adam Turner, sales and marketing director for Chorley Group, confirmed the group finished November at 80 per cent of last November as click and collect played a key role in keeping sales flowing.

The 27 per cent drop in overall new car registrations is significantly better than the first lockdown which saw a 97.3 per cent drop in April and an 89 per cent drop in May.

Car dealers are now far better set up to operate during the lockdowns with click and collect and home delivery models.

Some independent dealers, like Big Motoring World, even reported used car sales on a par with last November.

Registrations fell 4.4 per cent in the key plate change month of September and to a nine-year low in October, down 1.6 per cent on the previous year, but falling to the weakest performance since 2011.

At the time, Mike Hawes, SMMT chief executive, said: ‘When showrooms shut, demand drops, so there is a real danger that with England today entering a second lockdown, both dealers and manufacturers could face temporary closure.’

The SMMT will now be panicking even more about a no-deal Brexit. The two sides are still locked in talks which went late into the night. 

A no-deal Brexit would be disastrous for the UK economy, believe experts, and even more devastating for the already battered UK car industry.

Hawes added: ‘We need a tariff-free deal with the EU to provide some much-needed respite for an industry that is resilient but massively challenged.’

James Baggott's avatar

James is the founder and editor-in-chief of Car Dealer Magazine, and CEO of parent company Baize Group. James has been a motoring journalist for more than 20 years writing about cars and the car industry.

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