Coronavirus: New car registrations may drop more than 40%
New car registrations for March are likely to make gloomy reading for those in the motor industry.
The figures, due out at 0900, are expected to show a drop of more than 40% compared to last year.
The Society for Motor manufacturers and Traders is likely to report that the fall in sales was even greater than that seen during the financial crisis.
March is usually one of the strongest months of the year for the car industry.
It is a popular time to buy because it is one of two occasions when new number plates are released.
But the Covid-19 outbreak has taken a heavy toll, forcing potential customers to stay at home for the past fortnight and reducing new registrations for the month by about 200,000 compared with the same period last year.
They fell to the lowest level seen in March for more than two decades.
The crisis has come at a difficult time for the industry, which was already suffering with falling sales and a collapse in demand for diesel vehicles, while struggling to meet tough new emissions targets.
The coronavirus outbreak has also halted car production. All of the UK’s major car factories suspended work last month, and it is not yet clear when they will reopen.