April 2020: New passenger vehicle registrations contracted by 78% in the European Union, UK, and EFTA. Car sales from January to April 2020 were down 39%.
Lockdown measures in response to the coronavirus led to a collapse in the European new car market in April 2020. New car sales in the European Union were down 76% while the British new car market contracted by a massive 97% – only Italy performed worse. Germany was by far the largest car market in Europe in April 2020 while Norway was the best performer with sales down by just over a third.
European New Car Market in April 2020
As expected, the impact of the coronavirus on new car sales in Europe was particularly severe in April 2020 with most countries under lockdown. In most European countries, showrooms and registration offices were closed at least part of the month.
New passenger vehicle registrations in the European Union (EU) contracted by 76% to only 270,682 cars in April 2020 — 872,000 cars fewer than in April 2019. Car sales in the United Kingdom (UK) in April 2020 were even weaker with a 97% fall in the market. EFTA sales were down by 58% mainly due to a relatively strong performance by Norway.
Year-to-date 2020, new car sales in the EU, UK, and EFTA were down by 39% to 3,346,193 cars — over two million fewer than the first four months of 2020.
Car Sales per European Union, UK and EFTA in 2020 (April)
New passenger vehicle registrations in the European Union, UK, and EFTA countries in April 2020 were as follows according to the ACEA:
|EUROPEAN UNION (EU)||270,682||1,143,046||-76.3|
|TOTAL (EU + EFTA + UK)||292,182||1,345,181||-78.3|
Car Sales per European Union, UK and EFTA in 2020 (January to April)
New passenger vehicle registrations in the European Union, UK, and EFTA countries from January to April 2020 were as follows according to the ACEA:
|EUROPEAN UNION (EU)||2,750,845||4,475,561||-38.5|
|TOTAL (EU + EFTA + UK)||3,346,193||5,492,003||-39.1|
European Car Market in April 2020
As European countries closed down car dealers and registration offices due to the coronavirus according to different schedules, these measures rather than the traditional Easter holiday period influenced sales in different countries. Car dealerships were mostly closed in most European countries during April 2020.
The best performing, or least worse-performing, countries were Scandinavian: Norway, Denmark, and Sweden. Denmark and Norway both entered the top-ten biggest European new car markets for April 2020. Both Norway and Denmark were early to introduced lockdown measures in response to the coronavirus and early to relax measures. Ironically, both performed slightly better than Sweden, which hardly introduced any restrictions at all. Sweden was the third-largest car market in Europe in April 2020.
Germany remained the largest single-country car market in Europe in April 2020. New car sales in Germany were down by “only” 61% in April 2020 to give Germany a 44% share of the total European new car market in April 2020 compared to 23% in April 2019.
France maintained its second place but the traditional big British, Italian. and Spanish new car markets were the three worse-performing markets in Europe in April 2020 and slipped to 15th, 16th, and 17th.
Sweden was the surprise third-largest car market in Europe in April 2020 followed by the Netherlands, Poland, and Austria. The Czech Republic, Denmark, Switzerland, and Norway were surprise entries on the top-ten list.
Although the experience in China showed that the new car market can recover quickly post-coronavirus measures, the short-term outlook for car sales in Europe in 2020 remains very negative.
Volkswagen remained by far the largest carmaker in Europe and gained market share in April 2020.
European New Car Market in 2020
Sales and Market Analysis:
- March – by country, by brand, electric cars
- April – by country
- May – by country
- June – by country, by brand, forecast for full-year 2020