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Corona Crisis International Automobile Markets Slumped Sharply

Editor: Nicole Kareta

In the first half of 2020, the consequences of the corona pandemic and the measures taken to contain it caused sales to plummet on the international passenger car markets. The European market is worst hit, while China and US record double-digit falls. Brazil, Japan and Russia also show severe losses.

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The five largest European sales markets all recorded double-digit falls.
The five largest European sales markets all recorded double-digit falls.
(Source: gemeinfrei / Pixabay )

The simultaneous collapse of most markets due to coronavirus is unprecedented. In the major sales regions of China, the US and Europe (EU-27, EFTA and the UK), the total number of passenger cars sold showed a year-to-date fall of 7.5 million, equating to a 28% reduction in sales. Demand in Japan was down by one fifth. Sales in Russia and Brazil also showed huge losses. The Chinese market, by contrast, recovered for the second month in succession.

The corona crisis has hit the European market the hardest. In Europe, 5.1 million passenger cars were newly registered in the first half of 2020 – which was 39% less than in the same period in 2019. The five largest European sales markets all recorded double-digit falls. The smallest contraction – of 35% – occurred in Germany. Sales in France lost 39%. New registrations were down by about half in Italy (-46%), the United Kingdom (-49%) and Spain (-51%). In June the European car market once again remained a long way below last year’s result. In all, 1.1 million new vehicles were registered, i.e. 24 % fewer than in June 2019.

In the US, sales on the light vehicle market (passenger cars and light trucks) fell by almost a quarter (-23%) in the first six months of the year, to 6.4 million new vehicles. Sales in the light truck segment, which now accounts for three quarters of the US market, lost 18%. The car segment contracted by over 36%. In June a total of 1.1 million light vehicles were sold (-27%).

The Chinese new car market finished the first half of 2020 with sales of 7.7 million new vehicles. That was 2.2 million units, or 23%, down on the same period last year. On the other hand, last month’s sales rose by 1% to reach 1.7 million units – the second consecutive increase.

In the first half-year the passenger car market in Japan remained 20% below its 2019 result, totaling 1.8 million units. Sales in June came to 283,900 vehicles, falling by 23%.

The Russian light vehicle market recorded sales of 636,000 new vehicles up to the end of June, which represents a fall of more than 23%.

In Brazil, sales in the first six months of the current year amounted to 765,200 light vehicles – 39% down on the same period last year. The June figure lost around 43% (on 122,800 units).

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