The UK car market ground to a halt in April, with new vehicle sales plunging by 97% to the lowest level since the end of the second world war because of the coronavirus lockdown.
Just 4,321 new cars were registered last month, after car showrooms were banned from staying open as part of attempts to limit the spread of Covid-19.
It compared with 161,064 sales in the same month last year, and was the weakest since 1946 when the UK was emerging from war and resources were still rationed, highlighting the historic extent to which pandemic restrictions have hit the economy.
The lockdown began on 23 March. Sales for that month fell by 44% compared with 2019, the biggest fall since the financial crisis, before the almost total freeze in April. The majority of the cars sold in April were to fleet buyers who already had them on order, according to the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) which produced the figures.