LONDON (Reuters) – British new car registrations fell by a third on an annual basis in June when many dealerships reopened after COVID-19 lockdown measures were lifted, according to preliminary data from an industry body, a smaller drop than in March, April and May.

Around 145,000 units were registered in June, the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) said.

In March, demand fell 44%, in April by 97% and in May registrations were down 89%.

The SMMT added that year-to-date, the market was almost 50% behind where it was at the same time in 2019.

Not all British car factories have reopened and many are operating at reduced capacity as manufacturers try to balance demand and supply.

While car showrooms were allowed to reopen from June 1 in England, dealers in Wales and Scotland had to wait until June 22 and June 29 respectively.

The SMMT will publish final sales figures for the month of June at 9 a.m. (0800 GMT) on Monday.

Reporting by Costas Pitas and Alistair Smout, Editing by Timothy Heritage

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