The number of new cars registered in April slumped to a post-War low of just 4,321 as demand was hammered by the lockdown, although electric vehicles surged in popularity during the month.
Total sales plunged 97.3pc from a year earlier, when 161,064 cars were registered to buyers.
The collapse highlights the intense pressure on Britain’s £82bn automotive sector, which employs 823,000 people and is a key driver of prosperity across swathes of the country.
For the first time, the bestselling vehicle was an electric Tesla – a success which demonstrates how the market for conventional cars has been completely turned upside down.
It comes just days after separate data showed the number of cars rolling off UK production lines fell by almost 40pc to 79,000 in March. Almost no manufacturing is thought to have happened in April due to a wave of factory shutdowns.
There is already talk about how