16 October 2020
Passenger car registrations in the EU grew by 3.1% in September, according to the latest figures from the European Automobile Manufacturers’ Association (ACEA). A total of 933,987 new cars were sold across the bloc last month.
However, this marginal increase was set against a mixed backdrop, as the EU’s four largest markets posted mixed results. Spain and France saw decreases of 13.5% and 3% respectively. Meanwhile, Italy’s market jumped by 9.5% and Germany experienced gains of 8.4%.
Demand in the EU contracted by 28.8% in the first nine months of 2020. Seven million units were registered from January to September, almost 2.9 million less than in the same period last year. Despite August’s more positive results, coronavirus (COVID-19) continues to cast a long shadow over the industry. Year-to-date, Spain has seen the steepest slump among the major markets, down 38.3%, followed by Italy which fell 34.2%, France declined by 28.9% and Germany dropped by 25.5%.
As the UK exited the EU in January this year, it is no longer included in the bloc’s new-car registration figures as reported by ACEA. The country suffered its worst September since moving to bi-annual plate change last month, with registrations in the month down by 4.4% compared to the previous year.
New-car registrations, year-on-year % change, September 2020 and year-to-date (YTD) 2020
Source: ACEA, CCFA, KBA, ANFIA, ANFAC
Looking back, 2020 was not off to the best of starts, with the EU’s new-car registrations down 7.5% in January and 7.4% in February. But as COVID-19 took hold of the market, there were declines of 55% in March, 76% in April and 52% in May. Conditions did look like they were beginning to improve, with drops of 22% in June, then up 5.7% in July, but down again 19% in August.
EU new-car registrations, year-on-year percentage change, January to September 2020
In September, the top two performing manufacturers were Fiat Chrysler Automobiles (FCA) and Toyota, both seeing double-digit increases compared to last year, up 14.4% and 10.2% respectively. Promising gains were also recorded for Renault (up 9.7%), Volkswagen Group (up 9%), Nissan (up 7.9%) and Hyundai (up 5%).
Meanwhile, Jaguar Land Rover saw a decline in registrations of 30.8%, with Mitsubishi (down 26.8%) and Mazda (down 25.7%) not far behind. PSA Group also recorded a decline of 11.8%, while Volvo dropped 7.6% and BMW slumped by 3.5%.
Manufacturers with strong electric-vehicle (EV) offerings are expected to perform better than those without as EV consumers are less likely to be tempted by used cars. This is because they tend to be less price-sensitive buyers, but there is also limited availability of the latest electric models on the used-car market.
In a new video, Autovista Group Daily Brief editor Phil Curry outlines the September registration figures for Germany, Italy, Spain, France and the UK. The industry continues to see mixed results following the relaxation of COVID-19 lockdowns across the continent.