Trend in new passenger car registrations in Europe 2020

Car demand in European markets continues to plunge: UK car sales were 89 percent lower in May 2020, and the number of new car registrations in the European Union declined by over 52 percent between April 2019 and 2020. Across all EFTA markets, member states saw car sales decrease by around 48 percent in May 2020, compared with the same month one year earlier.

Consumer uncertainty in times of crisis

Registrations were already down in the first months of 2020 due to consumer uncertainty, a weakening economy, and changes in tax rates which resulted in higher than usual sales in previous months, but the drop in registrations strongly correlates with the coronavirus outbreak in Europe. Between January and May 2020, passenger vehicle registrations dropped most significantly in the European countries most strained by the pandemic: Italy, Spain, France, and the United Kingdom. Croatia was another market being pummeled. German car shoppers purchased almost every third car sold in the EU and yet, the German market contracted by almost 50 percent in May. This figure translates into almost 165,000 fewer units sold year-on-year in that month. Between January and May 2020, EU-27 car registrations slumped by around 2.4 million units.

Change in new passenger car registrations in European markets from January to May 2020

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Source

Release date

June 2020

Region

Europe

Survey time period

January through May 2020

Supplementary notes

All values are estimates; figures for Malta unavailable.
EFTA markets include Iceland, Norway, and Switzerland.
The figures prior to February 2020 were taken from previous editions of the publication.
The 2020 values for the European Union were adjusted to account for the UK's withdrawal from the European Union.

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