William Malcolm

European Car Sales Plummet 32%

European car sales fell by 32 percent in the first eight months of this year. The number of new car registrations fell by 5.7 percent in July alone and by 18.9 percent in August, according to the European Automobile Manufacturers Association (ACEA).

The decline in sales in July and August slowed markedly from previous months, suggesting that the European automotive sector, which has been hit hard by the coronavirus crisis, is slowly recovering. In March and May, sales fell by more than 50 percent and by 76 percent in April. In June, the decline slowed to 22 percent.

Sales fell in eight months in all EU countries. Of the largest countries, the most significant decline, by 40.6 percent, was recorded in Spain. In Italy, sales fell by 38.9 percent and in France by 32 percent. In Germany, Europe’s largest economy, sales fell 28.8 percent.

However, in July, seven of the 27 member states saw sales growth, including France and Spain. In August, Cyprus was the only country where sales grew.

The Volkswagen Group continues to hold the number one position in the European market, with sales falling by 29.8 percent to almost 1.6 million cars in eight months. Volkswagen’s market share rose slightly to 26.1 percent in eight months. The Czech Škoda Auto is also part of Volkswagen, whose sales fell by 22.5 percent from January to August and its market share in the EU was 5.8 percent. Sales have fallen since the beginning of the year for all car manufacturers.

In June, ACEA estimated that car sales in EU countries would fall by a record 25 percent to 9.6 million this year. If the assumption is met, the least cars will be sold in the union since 2013, when the industry ended a six-year slump after the financial crisis. The sector is affected by the measures in place against the spread of coronavirus. In January, before the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic, the association expected a 2 percent drop in sales. Last year, 12.8 million cars were sold in the EU.