New car sales in the UK dipped by 97.3% year-on-year in April due to the imposed lockdown to fight the spread of the novel coronavirus. According to Autocar, just 4,321 cars were sold last month (versus 161,064 units last year), the lowest number in Britain since 1946, or after World War II.

The CEO for Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) said these figures aren’t surprising, since car dealerships were forced to close through the month. Out of the 4,321 cars sold, 71.5% of which were fleet orders that may have been purchased prior to the lockdown, and bulk of the deliveries was used to support key workers. Only 871 cars were shipped to private buyers.

With that, Britain’s industry body has revised its vehicle sales forecast down to 1.68 million units for the whole of 2020, compared with 2.3 million in 2019. Other European countries also experience a similar collapse – sales in France fell by 88.8% year-on-year in April, while Italy saw numbers plunge by 97.5%.

In April, the Tesla Model 3 was the best-selling vehicle in Britain with 658 units sold, nearly doubling runner-up Jaguar I-Pace with 367 units. The new Vauxhall Corsa was third with 264 registrations. The government is now in talks with dealers for the resumption of business, and as of now the tentative date is May 11.

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