The coronavirus crisis has had a significant impact on international car markets in the past year. The number of newly registered passenger cars in the 27 EU member states fell by around 24 percent in 2020 compared to the previous year. This is according to the German Association of the Automotive Industry (VDA). Other large markets also posted double-digit declines. The Chinese market lost the least sales: Here the number of new registrations was only 6.1 percent below 2019 levels.
In Germany, new registrations fell by 19 percent. In France, sales volume was down by a quarter. Italy suffered even more with a decline of 28 percent, while the United Kingdom recorded 29 percent fewer registrations. Spain almost lost a third of new car registrations compared with 2019. According to the VDA “a slight recovery has been happening in the past few months.” Yet, in December, car sales in Europe were still 4 percent, or 1.2 million units, below the levels of the previous year.
China accounts for the largest share of global car production. More than a quarter of the cars produced worldwide originated in the country in 2019. Other important producers are the U.S., Germany and Japan. Within Europe, most of the passenger cars are manufactured in Germany, (around 4.7 million), followed by Spain and France.