New car registrations sank by 78 per cent across Europe in April but electrified vehicles found themselves gaining a large amount of market share, according to the latest figures.
Global automotive business experts Jato Dynamics said volume fell from 1.34m units in April 2019 to 292,600 vehicles in April 2020 because of the pandemic – the lowest monthly level since the 1970s and the worst result among the big three markets of China, USA-Canada, and Europe.
Europe’s sharp fall was only ‘outperformed’ by India, which sank by 100 per cent.
Felipe Munoz, global analyst at Jato Dynamics, said: ‘Lockdown across the globe contributed significantly to the huge drop in registrations. Not a single OEM was prepared for this scenario or expecting a crisis on such a large scale.
‘The only silver lining from this turbulence is that it has created an opportunity for automotive players to reassess their operations and become more agile.’
As quarantine wasn’t enforced across all European countries, registrations fell at different times and different levels. For example, in Scandinavia, people had more freedom of movement and that was reflected in a registrations drop of 37 per cent – the lowest decrease.
Against that, four of the top five markets saw ‘significant declines’ after strict lockdowns were brought in. Combined registrations in Italy, the UK, Spain and France plummeted from 646,000 units in April 2019 to 34,000 in April 2020.
However, despite all this, electrified vehicles gained a lot of ground, with a total of 50,400 registrations, equating to 17 per cent of total market share, versus 6.9 per cent of market share in April 2019 with 91,200 units.
Demand fell by 46 per cent compared with April 2019 but that was mainly because of hybrid cars, which dropped by 66 per cent to 18,900 units.
Electric cars decreased by 29 per cent to 16,700 vehicles. On the plus side, however, plug-in hybrids saw almost 14,000 new owners – a rise of seven per cent.
Munoz said: ‘EVs were already driving part of the small growth that remained in 2019. This year, as governments have acted quickly to protect their people and economies, EVs have gained even more traction and visibility due to incentives.
‘These cars are likely to become the top choice for consumers seeking private transportation. OEMs who have invested heavily in EVs are best placed to navigate the tough months ahead.’
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