New car market down 1.6% last month

Demand for new cars fell by 1.6% last month compared with October 2019, new figures show.

The Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) said just 140,945 new registrations were recorded in the UK last month, making it the weakest October since 2011.

Restrictions in Wales as part of the country’s coronavirus “firebreak” accounted for more than half of the year-on-year losses.

SMMT chief executive Mike Hawes said: “When showrooms shut, demand drops, so there is a real danger that with England today entering a second lockdown, both dealers and manufacturers could face temporary closure.

“What is not in doubt, however, is that the entire industry now faces an even tougher end to the year as businesses desperately try to manage resources, stock, production and cashflow in the penultimate month before the inevitable upheaval of Brexit.

“Keeping showrooms open – some of the most Covid-secure retail environments around – would help cushion the blow but, more than ever, we need a tariff-free deal with the EU to provide some much-needed respite for an industry that is resilient but massively challenged.”