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Europe’s new passenger car sales drop by 74% YTD amid coronavirus crisis

In this photo automobile factory.

Restrictions and lockdowns imposed as a precautionary measure to the coronavirus pandemic have greatly impacted Europe’s new passenger car sales. Data obtained by Learnbonds.com indicates that car sales dropped by 74% year-to-date between January and April 2020.

The Learnbonds.com data highlights that the sales within the 27 European Union member states alongside the United Kingdom, Iceland, Norway, and Switzerland stood at 292,180 in April 2020, a drop of 65.75% from March’s 853,080 sold units. A general snippet of the data points to a drop in sales from the start of this year. From November 2019, the highest car sales were in December with the figure at 1,261,740 units and an increase of 4.2% from November’s 1,210,860.

Our research also focused on new passenger car registrations by manufacturers to highlight the percentage change based on year-over-year from January to April 2020 compared to a similar period last year. Mazda had the highest change at -53% followed by Honda at -50.6% while the FCA group had the third-highest change at -48%.  On the other hand, the Toyota Group had the least change at -24.8% followed by Germany’s BMW Group at -29.6% while Volvo had a change of -31%. In general, all the car manufacturers within the highlighted market had a change of -39.73%.

All manufacturers supplying European market record major slump in sales

Our review also compared the number of new passenger car units registered by each manufacturer from January to April this year compared to a similar period last year. In total, 15 car manufacturers sold 3,240,028 car units in Europe between January and April this year. Last year during the first four months, the same manufacturers sold a total of 5,328,964 units, representing a percentage change of -39.19%.

Despite the decline in sales this year, VW Group (XETRA: VOW3.DE) still holds the top spot after selling 884,761 compared to last year’s 1,330,045 units. The PSA Group had the second-highest car sales at 492,144 this year, which dropped from 2019’s 908,420. Elsewhere, France based Renault Group has sold 564,334 units this year compared to last year’s 297,345. Notably, all manufacturers have sold fewer car units this year compared to last year, something that directly ties to the coronavirus pandemic that impacted most sectors of the economy.

A look at the car passenger sales shows the deep correlates with the period when most European countries were imposing restrictions to curb the virus. Most specifically in March. Countries like Italy, Spain, and France imposed travel restrictions and lockdowns after emerging as the hot spots for the virus. In the first month of the lockdown, many businesses were closed including car showrooms, directly resulting in the drop in car sales across the continent.

Drop in car sales to impact major European economies

The drop in car sales might impact some European economies that heavily rely on car manufacturing. For example, Germany’s strong economic position relies on vehicle exports, and car dealerships. As countries worked on their reopening plans the car manufacturing sector was given a priority. In Germany, the car manufacturing sector was among the first to be reopened but with strict social distancing and hygiene measures in place.

Other governments in Europe are debating how much help the auto industry should get without neglecting other sectors in need of a bailout to the crisis.

Before the Coronavirus pandemic, some of the car manufacturers were battling concerns regarding diesel emissions and under pressure to become greener alongside customer expectations. As a reaction to the drop, some manufacturers like Volkswagen have held back on plans to build a new factory in Turkey. At the same time, assembly points have been closed temporarily.

The drop in car sales might also be the same case for manufacturing as assembly points reopen. It will be a challenge to keep the workers in the assembly points while adhering to strict Coronavirus containment measures to avoid exposing workers. Companies might be required to conduct experiments first whether it is possible to run a big factory without exposing workers to infection and provoking a renewed outbreak.

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Justinas Baltrusaitis

Justin is an editor, writer, and a downhill fan. He spent many years writing about finances, blockchain, and crypto-related news. He strives to serve the untold stories for the readers.

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