The coronavirus crisis continues to slam the brakes on new-car sales overseas, as Australian dealers show signs of weathering the storm.
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New car sales in Europe have dropped 74 per cent since January, the decline attributed to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Just 292,180 new cars were sold across the 27 European member states – plus the United Kingdom, Ireland, Norway and Switzerland – in April 2020, according to data from the European Automobile Manufacturers Association.

That’s a 74.8 per cent decrease (or 842,940 sales) against the 1,135,120 new car registrations recorded in January 2020.

The decline started in February with 1,066,790 sales, a drop of 6 per cent. March saw a further slump of 853,080 sales (20 per cent) measured against February’s figures.

But the biggest slump came in April with a decline of 65.7 per cent (560,900 sales) from March to April, for an overall 74.8 per cent drop in the market from the start of the 2020.

Comparing the date year-on-year also paints a bleak picture for the industry struggling in the face of the lockdowns, restrictions and economic uncertainty with over two million new car sales lost.

Comparing data from 15 manufacturers, the new-car market in Europe has shrunk by 39.1 per cent compared to the same period last year.

Those 15 manufacturers recorded 5,328,964 sales in the period January to April 2019, but the global pandemic has seen those numbers slashed to 3,240,028 units, a decline of 2,088,936 sales.

In raw numbers, the biggest losers are Volkswagen Group which has recorded 445,284 fewer new cars sales year-on-year, a decline of 33.5 per cent; and the Peugeot Citroen Opel Group with a 45.8 per cent slump (416,276 sales).

In percentage terms, the biggest losers are Mazda with a drop of 53 per cent (44,290 sales), Honda (50.6 per cent or 24,023 sales) and the Fiat Alfa Romeo Chrysler Jeep Group (48 per cent/167,460 sales).

Japanese car giant Toyota has taken the smallest hit with a 24.8 per cent decline when compared year-on-year.

However, unlike Australia where it remains the market leader, Toyota isn’t a huge player in the European market, recording 200,901 sales from the period January to April this year, a drop of 66,407 deliveries recorded against the same period last year.

Despite Volkswagen’s 33.5 per cent slump, it remains the market leader in Europe with a total of 884,761 sales in the period January to April while the French twins – PSA Group and Renault – hold second and third spots respectively with sales of 492,144 (PSA) and 297,345 (Renault).

Conversely, dealers in Australia have reported a turnaround in business in the last two weeks of April and the first two weeks of May.

While not yet back to pre-COVID-19 sales levels, dealers reported that business has picked up since April, which had fallen by 48 per cent compared to the same month the previous year, the biggest month-to-month drop in at least 30 years.

January-April 2020 sales by brand

BrandJanuary-April 2019January-April 2020Change (%)
VW Group1,330,045884,761-33.5%
PSA Group908,420492,144-45.8%
Renault564,334297,345-47.3%
BMW344,949242,686-29.7%
Hyundai364,133240,562-33.9%
Toyota267,308200,901-24.8%
Daimler321,386199,532-37.9%
FCA Group348,904181,444-48.0%
Ford341,068178,079 -47.8%
Nissan149,15391,447-38.7%
Volvo115,11579,413-31.0%
JLR87,90352,202-40.6%
Mazda83,60739,317-53.0%
Mitsubishi55,12336,702-33.4%
Honda47,51623,493-50.6%
TOTAL5,328,964 3,240,028-39.1%