Recovery Signs for EU Registrations

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As pandemic lockdowns eased across Europe, the European Union’s carmakers enjoyed an uptick in registrations of new passenger cars in June, according to monthly figures released recently by the European Automobile Manufacturers’ Association.

ACEA reported that a total of 949,722 units were registered last month, representing a year-on-year decrease of 22%. The year-on-year decline in May was double that at 52%.

Sales of passenger cars in all of the 27 European Union member states except one were down. Only France managed to improve on the previous month’s figures by a modest 1%, likely due to a set of new incentives rolled out by the government to encourage uptake of low- and zero-emission vehicles. French car buyers are now in line for up to U.S. $13,150 to buy such vehicles, meaning the cost of some battery electric vehicle models would fall by nearly 40%.

New car registrations were depressed by 36.7 percent in the country’s southern neighbor Spain, by 32% in Germany and by 23% in Italy.

For the first six months of 2020 combined, new registrations fell by 38%, compared to the same period in 2019, “the result of four consecutive months of unprecedented declines across the region,” according to the monthly bulletin from ACEA. The association’s members consist of the 16 major car, van, truck and bus makers based on the continent.

On a half-year basis by country, Spain again fared the worst, experiencing a drop in new registrations of 51%. It was followed by Italy with a drop of 46%, France by 39% and Germany by 35%. ACEA no longer counts the United Kingdom, but it remains a key market, especially for German automakers. In June, 145,377 new cars were registered, a fall of 35% compared with the same month in 2019, according to the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders. Demand fell by 89% in May, the worst month so far this year.

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