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New car sales in Europe slump by 52 per cent in May, despite lockdown measures easing

Time 1 year ago

New car sales in Europe fell by just over 52 per cent in May, new figures reveal.

The European Carmakers’ Association, ACEA, said the number of cars registered across the EU fell from 1,217,259 units in May 2019 to 581,161 passenger cars in May 2020, despite Covid-19 lockdown measures easing in some countries.

Double-digit declines were recorded in each of the 27 EU markets last month, even though the percentage drops were less dramatic than in April.


Spain saw the biggest decline among the four major EU markets (-72.7 per cent), while sales fell by roughly half in France (-50.3 per cent), Italy (-49.6 per cent) and Germany (-49.5%).

This contrasts to registrations slumping by 89 per cent in the UK in May.

From January to May 2020, EU demand for new passenger cars contracted by 41.5 per cent, said ACEA, following three months of unprecedented declines across the region.

So far this year, car registrations decreased by 54.2 per cent in Spain, 50.4 per cent in Italy and 48.5 per cent in France. The contraction of the German market was slightly less severe, with registrations down 35 per cent over the first five months of 2020.


Sue Robinson, director of the National Franchised Dealers Association (NFDA), said: “It is interesting to see that new car registrations showed a slight improvement across Europe in May with a less severe decline than in April, as lockdown measures began to ease and dealers reopened.

‘By comparison, while about 80 per cent of dealerships have now reopened in England and reported two positive trading weeks, it is important to note that a lot of sales were boosted by pent-up demand.

‘We will continue to monitor the situation very closely to ensure our industry receives the support it needs going forward.’

James Batchelor's avatar

James – or Batch as he’s known – started at Car Dealer in 2010, first as the work experience boy, eventually becoming editor in 2013. He worked for Auto Express as editor-at-large and was the face of Carbuyer’s YouTube reviews. In 2020, he went freelance and now writes for a number of national titles and contributes regularly to Car Dealer.

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