UK will see more car sales as crisis eases, but it is far from over

Following the news that UK new car sales in the month of May fell by 89% on last year as the market was effectively frozen under lockdown rules;

David Leggett, Automotive Analyst at GlobalData, a leading data and analytics company, offers his view:

“With dealerships shuttered across the country, the stark May sales result came as no surprise. However, now dealerships have re-opened some are reporting brisk business as initial pent-up demand comes through. That is very welcome, of course.

“April and May will mark the low point in this crisis, but the impact of the broader recession in Britain will be around for some time. We have yet to see how much real demand is out there and where the market will settle.

“GlobalData’s forecast for the year is for the UK light vehicle market to be down 31% at 1.86 million units. That assumes the market can make up some of the lost ground in the second half as the COVID-19 crisis eases. However, the 2020 light vehicle market could be held back at nearer 1.5 million units if progress – in terms of both the public health crisis and restarting the economy – is much more limited.

“With the light vehicle market well under normal levels this year, car manufacturers and retailers will clearly be under considerable pressure.”

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