New car sales and light commercial vehicle (LCV) sales in the UK dropped by 89pc and 74.1pc, respectively, in May because of COVID-19-induced shutdowns.
According to the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT), a total of 20,247 new car units were sold in May compared to 183,724 units during the same period last year. Private vehicle sales fell by 83.8pc, fleet vehicle sales declined by 93.4pc, and business vehicle sales decreased by 81.1pc last month compared to May 2019.
In the first five months of 2020, new car sales saw a 51.4pc decline to 508,125 units from 1,045,824 units through the first five months of 2019. Private vehicle sales in the first five months of the year fell by 49.4pc, while fleet vehicle sales dropped by 53pc, and business vehicle sales decreased by 55.5pc from the same five-month period in 2019.
A total of 7,541 LCV units were sold in May 2020 compared to 29,142 units in May 2019. Pickup van sales dropped by 80.3pc, 4×4 sales fell by 83.8pc, and rigids’ sales decreased by 84.7pc last month compared to May 2019.
Through the first five months of the year, LCV sales fell by 49.6pc to 78,835 units from 156,489 units during the same time last year. Pickup van sales declined by 55.3pc, 4×4 sales decreased by 31.6pc, and rigids’ sales fell by 25.4pc during the comparable period.
This drastic drop in vehicle sales occurred because of two-month-long showroom shutdowns across the UK, which were implemented to curtail the spread of COVID-19. Showrooms were given a green light to open back up in England during the first week of June—considered a pivotal moment for the entire industry. It is, however, still too early to predict market trends in the coming months, according to Mike Hawes, chief executive officer of SMMT.