19 May 20

Car sales plummet by 76% in April

April was the first full month with COVID-19 restrictions in place. Unsurprisingly, this resulted in passenger car registrations in a year-on-year decline of 76.3%, reports ACEA.

This drop is the strongest monthly drop since records began. With most showrooms across the EU closed for the entire month, the number of new cars sold fell from 1,143,046 units in April 2019 to 270,682 units last month.

Italy and Spain endured the strongest losses, with registrations falling by 97.6% and 96.5% respectively. Germany saw a decline of 61.1%, France of 88.8%.

From January to April 2020, EU demand for new passenger cars contracted by 38.5%. So far this year, registrations fell by half in three of the four key EU markets: Italy (-50.7%), Spain (-48.9%) and France (-48.0%). In Germany, demand contracted by 31.0% over this period.

As COVID-19 registrations are being lifted partially or completely, car registrations are showing signs of recovery in May 2020.

UK exits ACEA data

As the UK is no longer part of the European Union, UK registrations are no longer included in ACEA numbers. For year-on-year comparisons, ACEA recalculates historical data to adjust to the new EU27 perimeter.

The Society for Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT), however, said that April’s car registration figure marked a 97% plunge year-on-year.

Ian Plummer, commercial director at online marketplace Auto Trader, told the BBC that the market had been paused rather than stopped, suggesting sales numbers should see a considerable increase once showrooms reopen.

Image copyright: Shutterstock

Authored by: Benjamin Uyttebroeck