Covid-19 Flattens EU Car Sales


Passenger car registrations in the European Union dropped a record 76 percent in April to 270,682, compared to April last year, reflecting the first full month with Covid-19 pandemic restrictions in place, according to the European Automobile Manufacturers Association.

By comparison, the number of new cars sold in the EU – excluding the United Kingdom – topped 1.1 million in April 2019. The EU numbers for April 2020 and 2019 don’t reflect registrations in the United Kingdom, which left the European Union early this year. According to ACEA, new passenger car registrations in the United Kingdom dropped 97 percent to 4,321 in April, down from 161,064 in the year-earlier period.

Each of the 27 EU markets posted double-digit percentage declines in car registrations in April. Italy, with a 98 percent decline to 4,279, and Spain, with a 97 percent slide to 4,163, took the steepest drops.

Among other large country markets, car registrations dropped by 89 percent in France to 20,997, by 61 percent to 120,840 in Germany, and by 90 percent in Belgium to 5,296.

The smallest percentage changes in car registrations occurred in Finland, Sweden and Denmark, each down in the 37 to 39 percent range.

During January to April 2020, ACEA noted, EU demand for new passenger cars fell 39 percent, which the association attributed to the negative impact of the pandemic on March and April results. During this longer time frame, registrations fell by half or close to it in Italy (51 percent), Spain (49 percent) and France (48 percent). In Germany, new car registrations decreased 31 percent over the four-month period.

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