Press Releases

China bucks the trends on global automotive markets

Berlin, 17 June 2020

Sales slump in Europe – Massive collapse in UK – Double-digit contraction also in US

In May the corona pandemic caused collapsing sales on some global automotive markets. As in March and April, economic uncertainty and the restrictions introduced to contain the pandemic are still holding back demand. In Europe (EU-27, EFTA and the UK) the market lost more than half of its volume, while the US market lost almost one third. In China, where now many measures to combat the spread of the coronavirus have been lifted, sales increased again for the first time in nearly two years.

In Europe a total of 623,800 passenger cars were newly registered in May – almost 57 percent fewer than in the same month last year. The five largest national markets all contracted severely, even if not to the historic extent seen in April. May’s new registrations were halved in Germany (-49 percent), France (-50 percent) and Italy (-50 percent). Sales in Spain plummeted by almost three quarters (-73 percent). The greatest loss occurred in the United Kingdom, where only 20,200 new vehicles were registered (-89 percent). In the first five months of this year, around 4.0 million new vehicles were sold on the European passenger car market, i.e. nearly 43 percent less than in the same period last year.

By contrast, in May the Chinese passenger car market recorded its first positive development for a long time. Sales added 6 percent last month, amounting to 1.6 million new vehicles. May 2020 was the first growth month for almost two years. Encouraged by the national and local support measures for reviving the market, customers are now more willing to make purchases. However, the accumulated result for the year to date is still very negative. Since January a total of nearly 6.0 million new vehicles have been supplied to customers, which is 27 percent below the 2019 figure.

In the US, sales of light vehicles (passenger cars and light trucks) showed a year-on-year fall of almost 30 percent last month. About 1.1 million vehicles were sold. Sales in the passenger car segment were down by 44 percent, while sales of light trucks lost 24 percent. After the first five months of the year, the US market totaled 5.3 million vehicles sold, equating to a fall of nearly 23 percent.

At 174,400 units, the number of passenger cars sold in Japan was nearly halved in May (-47 percent). That was the lowest monthly sales figure for nine years. This year so far, just over 1.5 million cars have been sold, representing a year-to-date fall of one fifth.

The Brazilian light vehicle market also contracted again in May. Last month, 56,700 new vehicles were sold there, i.e. around three quarters down on the level one year ago. Since January, in all 642,500 light vehicles have been newly registered – around 38 percent less than in the same period in 2019.

  May 2020 January-May 2020
  Units Change
20/19 in %
Units Change
20/19 in %
Europe (EU27+EFTA)*1) 623,800 -56.8 3,969,900 -42.8
European Union (EU-27)*1) 581,200 -52.3 3,331,700 -41.5
Western Europe (EU14+EFTA+UK) 1) 558,500 -57.2 3,566,800 -43.5
New EU Countries (EU13)*1) 65,300 -52.8 403,100 -35.4
USA** 2) 1,114,900 -29.5 5,314,900 -22.9
Japan 3) 174,400 -46.7 1,542,100 -19.6
Brazil** 4) 56,700 -75.8 642,500 -38.1
China 5) 1,634,000 6.3 5,988,000 -27.4

Quellen: 1) ACEA, 2) WardsAuto, 3) JAMA, 4) ANFAVEA, 5) CAAM

*ohne Malta

**Light Vehicles

Eckehart Rotter
Eckehart Rotter Head of Department Press

Tel: +49 30 897842-120 Fax: +49 30 897842-603
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