The car market suffered from corona in 2020
Last year there were 431 491 new cars registered in Belgium, 21,55% less than in 2019. In France, the sales total in 2020 is 1,65 million, a 25,5% decline. In the Netherlands the total sales figure is 356 051, also a 20% regress compared to 2019. At the same time, electrifcation is on its way.
The cause for these worst figures in decades isn’t hard to find. Due to the corona pandemic manufacturing plants and dealerships have been closed or partially closed for months.
On the other hand, this has helped the manufacturers to avoid the huge fines that were waiting for them as a result of the emission rulings inside the EU. The arrival of (many) more electrified vehicles has also played a role in this.
As always, Volkswagen stays the most popular brand in Belgium, but it saw its sales (39 861 units) go down with 25% compared to 2019. The same goes for Peugeot (33 551, third place, -22%), Renault (31 895, fourth, minus a shattering 34%) and Mercedes (31 758, fifth, -16%). Sales in 2020 were the lowest since 1997.
The striking exception is BMW. The Bavarians sold 36 381 cars in Belgium last year, resulting in a very slight regress of -0,7%. This is without doubt partly due to the important number of plug-in hybrids they have on offer and the popularity of this sort of car in the Belgian company car business.
Where pure electric cars saw their market share almost double from 1,5% to 2,9%, the hybrids still grew a little more (from 4,6% to 9,5%). A failing charging infrastructure and the already mentioned tendencies in the company car market drove the Belgians towards plug-in hybrids.
With 33% of market share, the diesel cars even slightly increased their share (31% last year) and seem to stabilise on one third of the market for the moment. Four out of ten new cars are SUVs or crossovers.
1,65 million cars sold in 2019, that’s the level of… 1975. The French manufacturers resisted a little bit better to the pandemic than the others, but they still regressed by 25,1% (PSA) and 24,9% (Renault) respectively.
Foreign makes shrunk even more (-26,1), the leading importer (VW Group) losing 28,4%. FCA did very badly with -41,5%, Toyota has limited the damage (-12,2%) due tot the popularity of its hybrids.
That brings us to the only good news in this morose market: sales of electrified vehicles have almost tripled. More than one fifth (21,5%) of all cars registered in France were electrified, 14,8% of them were hybrids, 6,7% full electric. The Renault Zoe is the electric bestseller and takes 9th place in the general sales ranking.
Cars with a diesel engine lost volume again (-3,5% to a 30,6% market share, half of that of 2014). Most popular cars were the Peugeot 208, the renault Clio and the Peugeot 2008.
The part of electric sales is practically the same in the Netherlands. In 2020, a little more than 70 000 electrified cars were registered, one fifth of the market (against 14% in 2019). On the contrary, the Dutch bought more pure electric models than plug-in hybrids.
The Kia Niro was the bestselling car and a big part of them were pure electric e-Niro. The model was sold out in November already. The car associations RAI and Bovag expect the 2021 market to turn around 400 000 units, more than one fifth of it being electrified.