UK new car sales recover in April from last year's lockdown hit

LONDON - British new car sales posted a 30-fold increase in April, according to preliminary data, as dealerships reopened to the public in England and compared to the same time last year when the first national lockdown almost completely wiped out volumes.

In April 2020, sales slumped by 97% to just 4,321 vehicles, their lowest level of any month since February 1946 as factories and showrooms shut due to the coronavirus outbreak.

Last month, customers were able to buy cars in person from April 12 in England whilst delivery, click and collect and online services also facilitated purchases. Plants have continued to operate with COVID safe measures in place.

Sales stood at around 141,000 vehicles last month, still down 13% on the 2010-2019 monthly average, the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) said on Wednesday.

The SMMT will publish its final figure for April at 0800 GMT.

(Reporting by Costas Pitas. Editing by Andrew MacAskill)

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