Sales of New Cars in Europe fell 17.7% in August 2020

Jiří Staník
September 21, 2020

Sales of new cars decreased by 190 thousand in August compared to last year

In the first eight months of the year, the decline reached 32.9% yoy

Cyprus performed relatively the best (up 14.1% yoy) while sales in Romania showed the weakest change compared to the last year (down 51.9% yoy)

Sales of new passenger cars reached 884 thousand in August 2020 in the enlarged Europe (EU plus Iceland, Norway and Switzerland), according to ACEA. This is 17.7%, or 190 thousand less than in the previous year. In the first eight months of 2020, some 7,269 thousand cars were sold in Europe, down 32.9% yoy.

In August, the EU car market posted another stronger decline, although less dramatic than earlier in the year. With the exception of Cyprus (+14.1%), all countries in the region recorded losses compared to August 2019. Looking at the four major EU markets, Italy performed best, with a slight drop of 0.4%, while the strongest declines were seen in Germany (-20.0%) and France (-19.8%).

Historically, between 1990 and 2020, sales of passenger cars in Europe reached a high of 1,937 thousand in March 2017 and a low of 292 thousand in April 2020.

Sales by Country

In August, most vehicles (251 thousand) were sold in Germany (down 20.0% yoy), followed by France (104 thousand, down 19.8%), Italy with 88.8 thousand cars (down 0.155%), 87.2 thousand new vehicles were registered in the United Kingdom (down 5.78%) and 66.9 thousand in Spain (down 10.2%). The five largest countries accounted for 60.0% of total new vehicles registered in August 2020.

In absolute terms, the best performance in sales of new cars has been seen in Cyprus (up 0.090 thousand cars) and Portugal (down -0.018 thousand cars). At the other end of the scale, Germany and France showed the biggest drop in registration of new cars in August when compared to last year (down 62.7 thousand and down 25.6 thousand cars, respectively).

In relative terms, sales in Cyprus (+14.1%) and Portugal (-0.145%) performed the best compared to a year ago, whereas registration in Romania and Estonia the worst (-51.9% and -42.3% yoy), in August 2020, according to ACEA:

In the first eight months of the year, some 7,269 thousand cars were sold in Europe, down 32.9% yoy. The table below shows details of the sales for each of the European country:

Sales of new passenger cars in Europe (thousands of vehicles)

Country August 2020 August 2019 YOY Change % 1-8/2020 1-8/2019 YOY Change %
Austria 20.9 29.9 -30.1 158 237 -33.2
Belgium 36.4 47.9 -24.1 298 404 -26.3
Bulgaria 1.92 2.93 -34.5 15.2 24.4 -37.5
Croatia 2.60 3.40 -23.6 25.2 47.8 -47.4
Cyprus 0.729 0.639 14.1 6.70 8.51 -21.3
Czech Republic 16.6 25.0 -33.6 131 175 -25.1
Denmark 17.6 18.7 -5.82 125 158 -20.8
Estonia 1.46 2.53 -42.3 12.6 18.9 -33.3
Finland 8.49 9.99 -15.1 65.0 79.5 -18.3
France 104 129 -19.8 998 1,468 -32.0
Germany 251 314 -20.0 1,777 2,496 -28.8
Greece 6.85 9.59 -28.6 52.9 86.9 -39.1
Hungary 10.9 15.6 -30.1 78.6 105 -25.4
Iceland 0.581 0.803 -27.6 6.25 9.12 -31.4
Ireland 4.86 5.12 -5.12 80.4 111 -27.3
Italy 88.8 88.9 -0.155 809 1,322 -38.8
Latvia 1.11 1.63 -31.5 9.18 12.8 -28.4
Lithuania 3.40 3.69 -7.89 23.6 30.7 -23.3
Luxembourg 3.67 3.81 -3.67 30.0 39.7 -24.6
Netherlands 26.5 34.2 -22.7 220 296 -25.7
Norway 10.8 12.1 -10.5 79.8 99.5 -19.8
Poland 34.7 48.1 -27.9 257 376 -31.6
Portugal 12.4 12.4 -0.145 92.5 159 -42.0
Romania 11.2 23.2 -51.9 73.7 118 -37.5
Slovakia 6.98 10.1 -30.6 49.3 64.5 -23.6
Slovenia 4.36 4.87 -10.5 38.6 50.5 -23.6
Spain 66.9 74.5 -10.2 525 884 -40.6
Sweden 25.5 29.5 -13.4 174 221 -21.3
Switzerland 16.3 19.4 -16.3 142 202 -29.7
United Kingdom 87.2 92.6 -5.78 916 1,519 -39.7
EU + EFTA 884 1,074 -17.7 7,269 10,830 -32.9
Source: ACEA, Helgi Library

Sales by Manufacturers

Volkswagen Group sold the most cars in August 2020 in Europe, some 226 thousand vehicles representing 25.5% of the European market. Sales of PSA Group amounted to 123 thousand vehicles (or 13.9% of the market) while Renault Group and Hyundai Group held 10.0% and 8.30% of the European market in August. Overall, the five largest manufacturers sold 64.8% of all new cars in August:

Volkswagen

Volkswagen Group sold 226 thousand new passenger cars representing a 25.5% share of all new passenger cars sold in Europe in August 2020. This is 22.2% fewer vehicles and a 1.48 pp decrease in market share when compared to last year. Looking back three years, VW's market share was 24.9%.

The Group sold 97.4 thousand of Volkswagen brand cars in August, followed by 50.1 thousand of Skodas and 43.2 thousand of Audis. Seat sold 29.1 thousand vehicles and Porsche some 5.29 thousand cars in August 2020:

PSA Group

PSA Group sold 123 thousand new passenger cars representing a 13.9% share of all new passenger cars sold in Europe in August 2020. This is 19.0% fewer vehicles and a 0.232 pp decrease in market share when compared to last year. By comparison, the market share three years ago stood at 15.2% and is down by 1.28 pp now.

The Group sold 53.9 thousand of Peugeots cars, followed by 33.4 thousand of Opels and 33.4 thousand of Citroens in August 2020:

BMW Group

BMW Group sold 62.8 thousand new passenger cars representing a 7.10% share of all new passenger cars sold in Europe in August 2020. This is 6.49% more vehicles and a 1.61 pp increase in market share when compared to last year. Compared to three years ago, BMW Group's market share is now 0.563 pp higher.

The group sold 50.6 thousand of BMW brand cars, followed by 12.2 thousand of Minis in August 2020:

Hyundai Group

Hyundai Group sold 73.4 thousand new passenger cars representing a 8.30% share of all new passenger cars sold in Europe in August 2020. This is 2.36% fewer vehicles and a 1.30 pp increase in market share when compared to last year. Compared to three years ago, Hyundai Group's market share is now 1.51 pp higher.

The group sold 37.5 thousand of Hyundai brand cars, followed by 35.9 thousand of Kias in August 2020:

Renault Group

Renault Group sold 88.6 thousand new passenger cars representing a 10.0% share of all new passenger cars sold in Europe in August 2020. This is 22.5% fewer vehicles and a 0.629 pp decrease in market share when compared to last year. By comparison, three years ago, Renault Group's market share was 10.2%.

The group sold 54.0 thousand of Renault brand cars in August, followed by 34.1 thousand of Dacias and 0.382 thousand of Ladas:

FCA Group

FCA Group sold 50.6 thousand new passenger cars representing a 5.72% share of all new passenger cars sold in Europe in August 2020. This is 8.31% fewer vehicles and a 0.584 pp increase in market share when compared to last year. By comparison, three years ago FCA Group's market share stood at 5.87%.

The group sold 34.2 thousand of Fiat brand cars in August, followed by 11.0 thousand of Jeeps and 2.85 thousand of Alfa-Romeos:

Toyota Group

Toyota Group sold 51.3 thousand new passenger cars representing a 5.80% share of all new passenger cars sold in Europe in August 2020. This is 5.11% fewer vehicles and a 0.768 pp increase in market share when compared to last year. Toyota Group's market share three years ago, by comparison, stood at 4.99%.

The group sold 48.6 thousand of Toyota brand cars in August, with Lexus following at 2.74 thousand cars:

Jaguar Land Rover Group

Jaguar Land Rover Group sold 7.90 thousand new passenger cars representing a 0.893% share of all new passenger cars sold in Europe in August 2020. This is 27.8% fewer vehicles and a 0.125 pp decrease in market share when compared to last year. Three years ago however, the market share of Jaguar Land Rover Group was 1.03%.

The group sold 5.49 thousand of Land Rovers in August, followed by 2.40 thousand of Jaguars:

Daimler Group

Daimler Group sold 59.9 thousand new passenger cars representing a 6.78% share of all new passenger cars sold in Europe in August 2020. This is 20.5% fewer vehicles and a 0.239 pp decrease in market share when compared to last year. By comparison, three years ago, Daimler Group's market share was 7.12%.

The group sold 57.9 thousand of Mercedes in August, followed by 2.05 thousand of Smart cars:

Overview of the Automotive Market

Based on a comparison of 138 countries, China ranked the highest with 21,444 thousand passenger cars sold in 2019 followed by the USA and Japan. Total sales of passenger cars reached 64,342 thousand in 2019 in the world, according to ACEA. This is 6.33% less than in the previous year and 29.6% more than 10 years ago. Historically, total sales of passenger cars reached an all time high of 70,695 thousand in 2017 and an all time low of 11,000 thousand in 1961. The average annual growth stands at 2.75% since 1960.

The top ranked country, China, accounted for 33.3% of all passenger cars sold in the world. The top 3 countries held a 47.3% share while the ten largest countries some 73.5% in 2019.

China was the largest car producer in 2019 with 21,360 thousand followed by Japan and Germany. Total production of passenger cars reached 67,149 thousand in 2019 in the world, according to ACEA. China accounted for 31.8% of the world's production, while the top 3 countries held a 51.2% share and the ten largest countries some 77.4% in 2019:

Based on a comparison of 39 countries, China ranked the highest in sales of electric cars with 1,060 thousand followed by USA and Germany in 2019. When looking at the ratio of electric to total new cars sold, Norway ranked the highest with 55.9% followed by Iceland and Netherlands:

By contrast, Lithuania ranked the highest in the number of petrol-fuelled as a proportion of new cars sold with 79.9%, followed by Hungary and Poland. In terms of diesel-fuelled vehicles, Ireland ranked the highest with 46.6% followed by Bulgaria and Latvia:

In 2016, Switzerland ranked the highest in 4x4 drive cars as a share of new cars sold with 42.1% followed by Norway and Sweden. Switzerland ranked the highest in the average power of new cars sold with 122 kW followed by Luxembourg and Sweden:

Based on the latest available data, Lithuania, Estonia and Romania were the countries with the oldest average age of passenger cars. The average age was an ancient 16.9 years in Lithuania, 16.7 years years for Estonia and 16.3 years years in Romania. On the other end of the scale was Austria with 8.20 years years, the United Kingdom with 8.20 years years and Luxembourg with 6.40 years years.

Overview of Car Manufacturers

Based on a comparison of 27 firms among Global Car Producers, Volkswagen Group generated the highest sales in 2019 followed by Toyota Motor Corporation and Daimler Group. At the same time, Toyota Motor Corporation had the highest market value followed by Volkswagen Group and Tesla Inc.:

generated the highest earnings before interest costs, taxes and depreciation (so called EBITDA) in 2019 followed by and . At the same time, Ferrari generated the highest EBITDA Margin followed by Porsche AG and BMW Group.

Ferrari produced the highest net profit per car sold in 2019 followed by Porsche AG and Toyota Motor Corporation. Ferrari made a net profit of USD 77,831 for each car sold, down 21.7% compared to the previous year.

Jiří Staník
Jiří Staník
CEO & Founder
He spent nearly two decades analysing companies in the region of Central and Eastern Europe, primarily in the area of financial services. Jiri built and headed Equity Research at Wood & Company, a Central European brokerage firm, and got several awards (such as The Best Equity Research or The Best Analyst by Euromoney).