UK car sector laments showroom closures in key selling month of March

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UK car sector laments showroom closures in key selling month of March

LONDON, Feb 22 (Reuters) – Plans announced by Prime Minister
Boris Johnson on Monday to keep car showrooms in England closed
to the public during the key selling month of March as part of
COVID-19 measures are “deeply disappointing”, a trade industry
body said.

Johnson earlier set out how the government plans to lift
lockdown measures, including the reopening of non-essential
retail outlets, such as dealerships, from no earlier than April
12.

Dealers have been using online, delivery and click and
collect services to keep selling vehicles but sales fell nearly
40% in January.

March accounts for around 20% of annual registrations as it
is one of two occasions when the licence plate series changes.

“The fact that retail showrooms must remain closed until
April at least is deeply disappointing,” Mike Hawes, the Chief
Executive of the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders,
said.

“The continuing decline in retail business will translate
into reduced production volumes as well as giving rise to other
operational issues.”
(Reporting by Costas Pitas; editing by James Davey)