The UK’s rebound and a recovering French market limited the July decline in new-car sales in Europe to less than 4%. The drop was the smallest percentage decline since January and the first single-digit contraction since the spread of the coronavirus forced countries into lockdown starting in March.
UK market was the biggest driver of the stabilization of sales in July, with registrations up up by 11% to 175,000, after showrooms were open for the first full month since lockdown measures eased. The July increase was the first monthly rise in registrations in the UK so far this year.
Registrations in France jumped by 4.6% at 179,000, helped by government incentives to combat the economic effects of the COVID-19 crisis.
Sales in Germany fell over five per cent to 315,000 vehicles. The Italian market was down 11% to 137,000 and Spanish registrations were flat at at 121,000, according to JATO data
Renault brand had the biggest increase in registrations in July—up 24%—followed by BMW and Mini, both close to a 20%.
Through July, overall European sales fell 34% to 6.44 million, according to JATO.
Registrations for the full year are forecast by ACEA to decrease by 25%, which would represent the lowest number of new cars sold since 2013, when the industry had come through six consecutive years of decline in the aftermath of the 2008-2009 financial crisis.
There are economic hurdles that likely temper it, but if sales continue to run at levels maintaining current inventory turnover rates, the rest of the year theoretically could run close to a 16.0 million-unit seasonally adjusted annual rate.