The coronavirus pandemic pushed UK car sales in 2020 down to the lowest level since 1992, the biggest annual slump since the second world war despite surging sales of electric cars, according to industry data.

Sales fell by 29% during the year to about 1.63m, preliminary figures from the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) showed.

The main cause of the decline was the first lockdown imposed in March, the crucial month when sales are usually helped by a change in number plates. Car showrooms in England were closed from late March until June, forcing companies to quickly move to online sales and bring in social distancing in factories.


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