Fall in global passenger car market due to pandemic confirmed by VDA

August 23, 2020

In the first half of 2020, the consequences of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic and the measures taken to contain it caused sales to fall dramatically on the international passenger car markets, reports the German Association of the Automotive Industry (VDA). According to the association, “The simultaneous collapse of most markets due to coronavirus is unprecedented.”

In the major sales regions of China, the US and Europe, 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, with sales in Russia and Brazil also showing major losses. The Chinese market, by contrast, recovered for the second month in succession.

The crisis was reported to have hit the European market hardest. In Europe, 5.1 million passenger cars were newly registered in the first half of 2020 – 39% less than in the same period in 2019. The five largest European sales markets all recorded double-digit falls, with smallest contraction – of 35% – reported in Germany.

Sales in France were down by 39%. New registrations were down by 46% in Italy, down 49% in the United Kingdom and down 51% in Spain. In June the European car market once again reported many fewer car sales than in the same period last year. In all, 1.1 million new vehicles were registered; 24% fewer than in June 2019.

In the US, sales on the light vehicle market (passenger cars and light trucks) fell by 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, fell by 18%. The car segment contracted by over 36%. In June, a total of 1.1 million light vehicles were sold, down 27% from June 2019. 

The Chinese new car market finished the first half of 2020 with sales of 7.7 million new vehicles – down by 2.2 million units, or 23%, from the same period last year. However, in June 2020, sales rose by 1% to reach 1.7 million units – the second consecutive increase in the country’s market, which is showing steady recovery.

In Japan, the passenger car market remained 20% below its 2019 result for the first half of the year, with sales totalling 1.8 million units. Sales in June 2020 amounted to 283,900 vehicles, down 23%.

The Russian light vehicle market recorded sales of 636,000 new vehicles up to the end of June 2020, representing a fall of more than 23%. In Brazil, sales in the first six months of 2020 amounted to 765,200 light vehicles – 39% down on the same period last year. The June figure was down by around 43% at 122,800 units.


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