Corona crisis: German passenger car market collapses

    Berlin, April 02, 2020

    Incoming orders, production and exports suffer drastic losses

    In March new passenger car registrations in Germany were 38 percent down on last year, falling to 215,100 units. This is the largest slump on the car market in a single month since Germany’s reunification nearly thirty years ago. The major causes are the spread of the coronavirus and the health measures taken in response, such as the massive restrictions on public life, closures of commercial businesses, and the reduced capacities of vehicle registration offices. A total of 701,300 passenger cars were newly registered (-20 percent) in the first quarter of this year.

    Last month’s incoming domestic orders were also well down on March 2019 (-30 percent) due to the corona crisis. In the first quarter, 22 percent fewer orders arrived from Germany. Orders from abroad showed a year-on-year fall of 37 percent, and since January the number of orders placed has decreased by 18 percent.

    The measures for containing the pandemic are also causing huge distortions in passenger car production. The German auto makers built 287,900 cars in March (-37 percent). Production during the first quarter came to 1.0 million units (-20 percent). Exports are suffering similar effects: last month 234,500 brand new passenger cars were supplied to customers around the world (-32 percent). This year so far 771,300 vehicles have been exported (-21 percent).

      March 2020 Jan. - March 2020
    Passenger cars *) Units Change
    20/19 in %
    Units Change
    20/19 in %
    New regsitrations


    -38 701,300 -20
      of which        
        German brands incl. group makes 151,500 -37 497,000 -19
        Foreign makes 63,600 -40 204,300 -23
    Export 234.500 -32 771.300 -21
    Production 287,900 -37



    *) Estimate

    Source: VDA/KBA