EU car sales suffer record drop in April

In Italy and Spain sales were down to almost zero, falling respectively by 97.6% and 96.5%

Sales of new cars in the European Union dropped by 76.3% in April, the European Automobile Manufacturers Association (ACEA) has said, linking the unprecedented year-on-year drop to restrictions imposed to prevent the spread of COVID-19. As it added, just around 270,000 new cars were registered last month, compared to 1.14m in April 2019.

"The first full month with COVID-19 restrictions in place resulted in the strongest monthly drop in car demand since records began," ACEA noted.

In March, year-on-year sales were down by 55.1%.

The automotive sector has been one of the worst affected by the novel coronavirus pandemic, as lockdowns depressed consumer demand and forced the closure of car dealers and car factories across Europe.

In Italy and Spain, two countries which adopted some of the world's strictest virus containment measures, sales were down to almost zero, falling respectively by 97.6% and 96.5%. Sales were down by 88.8% in France, while Germany, a country that has been less seriously affected by the pandemic, reported a smaller year-on-year drop of 61.1%.

Amid free-falling sales, Germany's Volkswagen group improved its leading position in the market, as its share rose to 28.8%, from 24.9% a year earlier. France's PSA Group saw its share drop from 17.1% to 13.6%, Renault's was down from 11.6% to 10.2%, while BMW advanced from 5.9% to 8.7%.

Meanwhile, Fiat Chrysler Automobiles (FCA), which relies heavily on the Italian market, saw its European market footprint halve from 7.4% to 3.8%.

More on this subject: Coronavirus

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