Car sales drop 32%, worst year since 2013

Unmitigated sinkhole in the automotive market after registering a slump in registrations last year that has led to its worst records since 2013, when Spain was facing the worst moment of its previous economic crisis. Car sales closed 2020 with a drop that finally stood at 32.3% compared to the previous year. Estimates of the sector came to point to a decrease of up to 35%.

In the last 12 months, 851,211 units have been sold, a figure that the Spanish car market has not seen for more than seven years. Some 722,000 vehicles were then registered. Since that also disastrous 2013, the recovery was gradual until 2018 exceeded 1.3 million sales. Already in 2019 they began to decline to 1.2 million. And the lace has come with the coronavirus, restrictions on mobility, uncertainty and the absence of tourists.

The effects of the pandemic have been felt in all segments from March to November. Only December has managed to improve the data of the same month of the previous year by registering 105,841 registrations, practically the same in year-on-year terms, thanks to the boost in sales to the particular characteristics of the last weeks of the year to take advantage of the ‘stock’ of dealers .

The private and company channel achieved growth in December, with 3.5% and 18.1%, more, respectively, compared to the same month of the previous year. This rise has not prevented the year from closing in both channels with strong setbacks. In the private channel, the decrease is 27.1% (427,378 units); The explanation lies in the fear of the employment and economic future of many families, who have been waiting to make any acquisition of this magnitude. Sales of cars to companies also fell 24.4% (to 327,732 units) due to the lack of dynamism in the economy. And the channel of rental firms has confirmed a disastrous year (with the sole exception of the month of August) that has dragged during 2020, with a decline in December sales of 54.6% (7,393 units) and that ends 2020 with the biggest drop of the three channels, almost 60% less.

By type of vehicle, gasoline cars continue to lead the market in Spain, with just over 49% of all sales made, although this is a lower percentage than in other years due to the boom in electric and hybrid car registrations, which they already represent 22% of the total. The other 27.7% corresponds to diesel, with a market share that has stabilized in 2020.

In the case of individuals, not even the expected increase in Registration Tax as of January 1 and the end of aid from the Renove plan have managed to further boost sales in the last part of the year. Sales forecasts for 2021 point to a market below one million units, although the first quarter will be greatly affected by the increase in registration tax in January and the end of the aid plan, with more than 200 million euros without spend.

Worse prospects in 2021

From the employers’ association of manufacturers (Anfac) they explain that “despite exceeding 100,000 units sold in December, as in 2019, 2020 closes with a sharp drop and a sales figure close to those registered in the crisis and leaves a difficult environment for the automotive sector in 2021 ‘. In his opinion, the recovery “will be complicated by the increase in the Registration Tax in January and the end of the Renove plan, which leaves 200 million euros unconsumed, which will make it even more difficult to renew the park.” On the other hand, from the dealers’ association (Faconauto) they point out that «the December vehicle sales are misleading because, without the numerous self-registrations that the dealers have made and without the advance purchases to avoid the increase in the registration tax from On January 1, the market would have registered again important falls ». As for the whole of the year “it can only be classified as bad, because it has not been possible to compensate for the two months that dealerships were closed or the impact of mobility restrictions after the summer.”

Manufacturers, suppliers and sellers of vehicles launched before Christmas a notice to the Government to act “with one voice” in support of the industry. The warning came after the sector noted different positions of the ministries regarding the future model of cars in Spain.

The automotive ordeal came six months after they signed with the Government of the Impulse Plan, endowed with 3,700 million euros, but of which it has barely become known in the companies.


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