Used car supermarket CarShop saw sales drop 43 per cent during the first quarter as showrooms were closed by the lockdown.
However, despite the dramatic fall, owner Penske Automotive Group has revealed its Sytner and CarShop brands still sold 40,000 new and used cars during the three months to the end of March.
In a trading update, Penske admitted the UK sales fall impacted its global performance as the US recorded big rises.
And the group said the financial results were its ‘best ever’.
At the start of the year, Penske rolled out the CarShop name across all its used car operations, rebranding its US CarSense operation to the same name.
For the three months, used car sales for the global operation decreased by 30.1 per cent to 11,395 units with revenue down 20.6 per cent to $242m (£173m).
The group said: ‘[The drop was] principally due to a 43 per cent decline in used unit sales in the UK as a result of Covid-related government-mandated showroom closures, partially offset by a 25 per cent increase in used unit sales in the US during the quarter.’
Overall, Penske reported its highest ever first quarter revenue booking $5.7bn (£4bn) up 15 per cent on the same quarter in 2020.
Some 32 per cent of the revenue was attributable to UK operations.
Profit before tax was up 246 per cent for the quarter at $247m (£177m).
While the Sytner new car operation in the UK saw sales rise by 7.8 per cent during the quarter too.
Chairman Roger Penske said: ‘We had outstanding performance across our business during the first quarter.
‘Despite our dealership showrooms being closed in the UK for the entire first quarter due to Covid restrictions, we used our online tools to deliver 40,000 new and used vehicles in the UK market.
‘Importantly, new same-store units in the UK increased 7.8 per cent compared to the UK market which declined 12 per cent.’