New car demand down 35% in June, new figures show, after Sunderland Nissan plant cut jobs during coronavirus pandemic

The automotive industry is one of many that has been significantly hit by the coronavirus outbreak, with the demand for new cars in June falling by almost 35%.

Monday, 6th July 2020, 1:00 pm
Updated Monday, 6th July 2020, 1:01 pm
Nissan cars are pictured, parked in a lot at its' Sunderland plant (Photo: ANDY BUCHANAN/AFP via Getty Images)

An automotive industry body said that the demand for new cars fell by 34.9% in June compared to the year prior.

Only 145,377 new cars were registered in June compared with 223,421 in June 2019, according to the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT).

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The trade body said the decline reflects uncertain economic confidence and dealerships in Wales and Scotland remaining closed for much of the month due to the coronavirus lockdown.

Nearly 616,000 fewer new cars have been sold in the first six months of 2020 compared with the same point last year.

Year-on-year demand in April and May was down 97.3% and 89.0% respectively, largely due to the pandemic.

SMMT CEO Mike Hawes said: "While it's welcome to see demand rise above the rock-bottom levels we saw during lockdown, this is not a recovery and barely a restart.

"Many of June's registrations could be attributed to customers finally being able to collect their pre-pandemic orders, and appetite for significant spending remains questionable.

"The Government must boost the economy, help customers feel safer in their jobs and in their spending and give businesses the confidence to invest in their fleets.

"Otherwise it runs the risk of losing billions more in revenue from this critical sector at a time when the public purse needs it more than ever."

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Read more: Nissan cuts 250 jobs at Sunderland plant

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