TodayJuly 23, 2021

European car sales down 38% first half of 2020

Car sales still struggling in Europe

As Europe seemingly gets a handle on COVID-19, its car sales are still struggling.

In June 2020, registrations of new passenger cars in the EU totaled 949,722 units, a drop of 22.3% compared to the same month last year, when car sales totaled 1,222,942.

This does mark a slight improvement over May 2020, which saw a 52.3% drop across the European Union. Although dealerships opened for business again after lockdown measures were lifted, consumer demand did not fully recover last month. The question will be, how long will it be before car sales recover to the 2019 level?

All EU markets continued to post significant declines in June, with France (+1.2%) being the only exception to the rule. France’s increase can be explained by the new incentives to stimulate sales of low-emission vehicles introduced by the French government at the beginning of June.

Looking at the other major car markets, Spain (-36.7%), Germany (-32.3%), and Italy (-23.1%) all recorded double-digit drops last month. The year overall is looking better for each country than it did at the beginning of the pandemic.

Over the first half of 2020, EU demand for new passenger cars contracted by 38.1%, the result of four consecutive months of unprecedented declines across the region.

Among the four major EU markets, Spain saw the biggest decline (-50.9%) so far this year, followed by Italy (-46.1%), France (-38.6%), and Germany (-34.5%).

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Lou Ann Hammond

Lou Ann Hammond is the CEO of Carlist and Driving the Nation. She is the co-host of Real Wheels Washington Post carchat every Friday morning and is the Automotive, energy correspondent for The John Batchelor Show and a Contributor to Automotive Electronics magazine headquartered in Korea. Hammond is a founding member of the Women's World Car of the Year #WWCOTY, and board member of the Women in Automotive.

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