In December 2020, demand for new passenger cars in the European Union declined by 3.3% to 1,031,070 units. The four largest EU markets, however, recorded very different results. Italy and France both suffered double-digit losses, with car registrations down 14.9% and 11.8% respectively, in the last month of the year. By contrast, Germany posted a solid gain (+9.9%) and Spain’s performance remained stable, as the number of registrations was more or less the same as in December 2019.
Looking at full-year 2020 results, the EU passenger car market contracted by 23.7% to 9.9 million units as a direct result of the COVID-19 pandemic. Indeed, containment measures – including full-scale lockdowns and other restrictions throughout the year – had an unprecedented impact on car sales across the European Union.
2020 saw the biggest yearly drop in car demand since records began, with new-car registrations falling by 3 million units compared to 2019. All 27 EU markets recorded double-digit declines throughout 2020. Among the region’s biggest car markets, Spain posted the sharpest drop (-32.3%), followed closely by Italy (-27.9%) and France (-25.5%), while full-year losses were significant but less pronounced in Germany (-19.1%).