In March, the drop in sales compared to the same period last year was 55.1%. In April 2020, only 270,682 new private cars were sold in the European Union, compared to 1.14 million in April 2019, noted the European Association of Automobile Manufacturers.
All national markets suffered spectacular declines, in particular Italy (-97.6%), Spain (-96.5%) and France (-88.8%). In Germany, the fall was less dramatic (-61.1%).
Among the automakers most affected are the Italian Fiat Chrysler (-87.7%) and the French Renault (-79%) and Peugeot (-81.2%), according to data from the Association. The number one in Europe, the German Volkswagen, recorded a drop of 72.7% of its sales in April this year, in comparison with the previous one.
One of the manufacturers that suffered the least was BMW (including the Mini brand), with a 65.3% drop, while its rival in luxury cars, Germany's Daimler, recorded a 78.8% drop in sales. The collapse of the market is mainly due to the paralysis of trade.
"The first full month of restrictions linked to COVID-19 caused the biggest decline in car demand in history" in Europe, the Association reported. "Most of the concessionaires were closed in the European Union", added the association. The British market fell by 97.3%, but since the end of Brexit, ACEA has stopped including it in EU statistics. The 2020-2019 comparison was made, excluding the UK from last year's data.
Accumulated sales from January to April show a 38.5% drop in sales. This setback cannot be compensated, even though at the end of the year, sales increased sharply. After the first measures to end containment, sales of new cars started very slowly, according to manufacturers.
At the moment, most companies in the sector are still paralyzed, or partially functioning.
"We are in a deep crisis, comparable to that of 2008-2009, or worse. The market drop in Europe could be 22% this year, compared to 2019," Xavier Mosquet, an expert in the BCG sector, told AFP.