Second wave of Covid: the automotive market is once again shrinking in Europe

It was predictable. After a rebound at the start of the school year, the European car market fell again in October following the re-containment of several nations facing the rebound of the Covid-19 epidemic, according to figures released on Wednesday by the manufacturers.

The number of new passenger car registrations is back to its 2018 levels: it is down 7.8% compared to the excellent month of October 2019, to 953,615 units compared to more than a million a year ago. year, the Association of European Automobile Manufacturers (ACEA) said in a statement.

Demand fell sharply in the main European markets. Spain posted a decline of 21%, France by 9.5%, Poland by 14.6% and Belgium by 9.4%. In Germany (-3.6%) as in Italy (-0.2%), the concessions that remained open made it possible to limit the breakage.

Nothing to do, all the same, with last spring

During the first wave of Covid-19 and the spring containment, the European market collapsed by 55.1% in March and then by 76.3% in April. At the time, the restrictions were much stricter and the closure of automobile businesses had notably been decided, unlike the current re-containment. The sector began to recover in September, benefiting from government stimulus measures adopted in several major European countries.

The decline in orders is “unprecedented”, underlines ACEA. Eight million cars hit the road from January to October, 2.9 million less than over the same period in 2019. The Spanish market is the hardest hit, with 670,000 vehicles sold compared to more than a million in the 10 first months of the year 2019.

Only Renault and Fiat-Chrysler hold up well

The ACEA, which brings together 16 manufacturers active in Europe, predicted before the pandemic a decline of 2% for 2020, after six consecutive years of growth which had brought the market very close to its highest levels.

In the list of manufacturers, the German group Volkswagen (with Skoda, Audi, Seat and Porsche), still undisputed number one in Europe, posted sales of -9.1% in October. Its runner-up PSA (Peugeot-Citroën-Opel) fell by 6.6%, Hyundai by 7%, BMW by 13.5%, and Daimler (Mercedes-Smart) by 8.1%. Two groups stand out by posting higher sales in October: Renault (+ 0.2%) and FCA (Fiat-Chrysler, + 3.9%).

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