Sales of new cars in the European Union fell in March by 55.1 per cent year-on-year, a trade group says, blaming the record drop on the novel coronavirus epidemic.

Just around 567,000 new cars were registered, less than half compared to March 2019, the European Automobile Manufacturers Association (ACEA) says in its monthly bulletin.

ACEA calls it a “dramatic drop … as a result of the COVID-19 outbreak,” and notes that car dealerships in most of Europe have been closed due to virus “containment/lockdown measures.”

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It is the biggest year-on-year monthly percentage fall on record, a spokeswoman for ACEA adds.

In absolute terms, it is the worst March sales figure since 1990, according to data on ACEA’s website.

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