In November 2020, car sales in Europe contracted by 13%. The VW Golf remained the top-selling model followed by the Toyota Yaris.
In 2020, new passenger vehicle registrations in the European Union (EU), EFTA, and the UK contracted by 13% to the lowest November car sales in Europe since 2014. During the first eleven months of 2020, the European new car market was more than a quarter smaller than in 2019. Volkswagen remained the best-selling car brand in Europe but lost market share. In November, the VW Golf was again the top-selling car model in Europe but the Toyota Yaris surprised by taking second place.
European New Car Market in 2020 (November)
In November 2020, European new car registrations once again contracted by double-digit percentages in response to the ongoing impact of the coronavirus pandemic. In November 2020, the market registered 1,045,129 new cars – 13% less than for the same period in 2019. Consequently, November 2020 has recorded the lowest volume since 2014, when just 989,500 units were registered.
Year-to-date figures continue to point to a concerning trend, with YTD 2020 volume dropping by 26%. European consumers registered 10.71 million units between January and November – the lowest YTD figures so far this century. Felipe Munoz, global analyst at JATO Dynamics, commented: “The global pandemic and its impact on mobility has been extremely painful for the automotive industry, indeed more painful than any other economic crisis that has hit Europe over the last two decades.”
Growth of SUV Sales in Europe Stalling?
Over the last six years, SUVs have been a consistent driver of growth for Europe. As the market started to recover between 2011 and 2013 following the economic downturn, increasing buying power and demand shifted from hatchbacks, wagons and MPVs, to SUVs.
And, in 2019 – before the tangible impact of COVID-19 had taken hold – SUVs registered a total of 6.03 million units in Europe. They accounted for 38.3% of the total market – a record for the industry. This year, however, the state of play has changed dramatically. OEMs are no longer experiencing rapid growth, with the whole industry searching for positive signs going into 2021.
For the majority of 2020, the market share of SUVs remained stable, between 40% to 41%. However, their registrations fell by 13% in November, and 21% YTD when compared to 2019. Regardless of this, between January and November, the market share of SUVs jumped from 38% in 2019 to 40.4% this year. Munoz continued: “The market has benefitted hugely from a wider SUV offering provided this year. But with the impact of Covid-19 still in full force, demand is no longer growing in parallel to new product launches, nor at such a fast pace”.
Conversely, B and C cars experienced declines below the overall average, in fact, their market share increased in November due to new arrivals and a more competitive electrified offering.
Best-Selling Cars in Europe in 2020 (November)
Volkswagen remained the top-selling brand in Europe in November 2020, although VW lost market share. Of the top ten brands only Ford, which lost nearly a quarter in sales, performed worse than Volkswagen in Europe during November 2020.
So-called premium brands Mercedes and BMW gained market share while Renault and Peugeot performed roughly inline with the broader market. Toyota and Audi were the only to brands go increase volume sales compared to a year ago.
Best-Selling Car Models in Europe in November 2020
The overall ranking by models in November 2020 confirms that the Volkswagen Golf kept its position as the most popular car in Europe. The hatchback registered 24,800 units in November – just short of 255,000 units since January.
More surprising was the Toyota Yaris as the second-best-selling car model in Europe in November 2020. The new Yaris model was well received with sales up by 29%.
The Renault Clio was third followed by the Opel / Vauxhall Corsa that increased sales by a fifth. Fourth was the car that that Corsa is based on, the Peugeot 208. The most-improved model was the Peugeot 2008 with sales up by 46%.
Only two SUVs made it into the top 10 – the Peugeot 2008, followed by the Renault Captur. Further down the ranking, Ford Puma, Volvo XC40, Audi A3, Renault Zoe, Volkswagen ID.3, Kia Niro, Mercedes GLA, Skoda Kamiq, Jeep Compass, Mercedes GLB, Nissan Juke, Audi Q3 Sportback, Kia Xceed, Suzuki Ignis, and BMW 2-Series, all posted healthy results.
European New Car Market in 2020
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