The outbreak of COVID-19 has already impacted the automotive industry significantly, according to JATO Dynamics, a leading provider of global automotive data and insight. Global vehicle sales totalled 5.55 million units in March 2020, down by 39% from March 2019.
This represents the largest year-on-year monthly decrease since 1980, when JATO Dynamics started to collect data – even surpassing the global financial crisis in November 2008, which saw a 25% decline in sales.
With the pandemic spreading across the globe, strict lockdowns in key markets, combined with consumer panic and economic uncertainty, have all contributed to the huge decrease in sales last month.
“This downward trend is not simply due to the restrictions of free movement. The industry is being impacted largely by the uncertainty for the future, and this issue started to arise even before the pandemic took hold” said Felipe Munoz, JATO’s global analyst.
He continued “we have to remember that the industry was already operating in a challenging environment, especially towards the end of last year. The trade wars, lower economic growth and tougher emissions regulations came long before the COVID-19 crisis. And unlike previous recessions, we’re not just dealing with people’s fears or purchase delays. This time we have to consider that consumers are simply unable to leave their homes.”
Overall, the total for the first quarter of 2020 already highlights a reduction of 26% Q1 2019 with sales decreasing to 17.42 million units.
Europe hit hardest
- Lowest March sales in 38 years across Europe
- Passenger car registrations for Europe-27 down 52% year-on-year
- City-cars, MPVs and subcompacts most impacted segments
- EVs post new record market share of 17.4%
China, Europe, and the US all posted double-digit declines in March. However, Europe was hit the hardest, with the lowest number of sales for March in 38 years. The passenger cars registrations for Europe-27 comprised of 848,800 units, down by 52% compared to March 2019. This result follows declines in January and February, taking the quarterly volume down to 3.04 million units.