Data gathered by the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) has shown a massive decrease in the number of new vehicles registered in 2020, with the COVID-19 pandemic to blame for the slump in sales.
Only 1.63-million vehicles were registered in 2020, which represents a 29% decrease in sales compared to 2019, and is the toughest year for the market since 1992, according to reports from Sky News.
The motoring sector was particularly hit hard between March and April of 2020, when a number of countries around the world implemented national lockdowns. During this time sales dropped by as much as 97%, and the automotive industry recorded a loss of R400 billion [£20.4bn] in turnover.
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Showrooms were gradually allowed to reopen in June, but were once again forced to close their doors in November when the second COVID-19 wave started. Dealerships were however prepared for the second closing, as they had set up click-and-collect options. Despite being better prepared, dealerships still saw 27% decline in sales.
“2020 will be seen as a ‘lost year’ for automotive, with the sector under pandemic-enforced shutdown for much of the year and uncertainty over future trading conditions taking their toll,” said SMMT chief executive Mike Hawes.
“However, with the rollout of vaccines and clarity over our new relationship with the EU, we must make 2021 a year of recovery,” he added.