No sign of car sales recovery in most EU countries
With 24% fewer cars sold than in the same month last year, January 2021 is the worst first month of the year on record to date. According to ACEA’s latest registration figures, only 726 491 cars new cars were sold compared to 956 447 in the same period last year. Only France and Sweden see a more positive trend.
Apart from Sweden, all 27 EU markets saw negative figures, with Spain hit hardest (-51,5%), at a level comparable with Romania (-51,9%) and Slovakia (-50,6%). After a revival in December, Germany paid the price for the end of the lower VAT, with a fallback of -31,1%. France profits further from the recent boom and kept losses limited to -5,8%.
Sweden standing out
With -27,2%, Belgium scores worse than the EU average loss, while the Netherlands did better with -20%. The UK keeps sliding down with -39,5%. Norway keeps positive due to electric car sales with +7,7%. Sweden stands out clearly with a +22,5% increase, compared to last year’s January.
It was mostly sales of rechargeable cars (battery-electric and plug-ins) that continued after a record December (49%), with a share rising to 33,5% (from 30,7% in January 2020) of all car sales in the Nordic country.
Volvo doing better than ever
Swedish car manufacturer, Volvo Cars, reported its best-ever second half in 2020, with 151 billion crowns revenues (+4,9%) from nearly 400 000 cars sold (+7,4%). It was the only main car manufacturer presenting positive figures with a +9,4% increase over the whole European Union in January.
In its home-country, it boosted sales by +51,7% in January, outperforming all competition. You won’t hear complain Toyota (+64,2%), Peugeot (+60,6%), Mercedes (+34,4%), and BMW (+26,9%) either.
Volkswagen still biggest
In the rest of the EU, the Volkswagen Group remained the biggest in January 2021 with 186 889 cars sold, but still a loss of -26,8% compared to 2020. Within the group’s brand portfolio, VW (-30,1%) and Audi (-31,8%) taking the hardest blow, and Porsche (-6,6%) having the least damage.
New Stellantis Group follows Volkswagen on a short distance with 164 575 cars sold (-26,1%). Here Jeep (-11,2%) and Peugeot (-17,5%) limited losses, while Alfa Romeo (-46,5%), DS (-44,4%), Citroën (-32,3%), and Opel (-32,4%) had to give in most.
The third biggest group remains Renault (74 132 cars), limiting losses to -21,6%, with only Alpine keeping its head above water (+54,3%). But here we’re talking about 71 cars sold compared to 46 in the same month the year before.
In the German premium brands, both BMW (-14,2%) and Daimler (-14,2%) have minor losses. Toyota (-17,3%) and Hyundai (-23,4%) keep under the EU average. For Hyundai Group, it is the sister brand Kia (-12%) that mitigates the damage.