West European car registrations fell by 57.3% year‐on‐year (YoY) in May, while the regional selling rate stood at 6.3 mn units/year. Although the region shows some improvement from the unprecedented fall in April, the automotive industry is still in the midst of a deep crisis and it remains clear that the spread of COVID‐19, and associated lockdowns, continue to dominate the region’s woes.
French registrations contracted by 50.3% YoY, with the monthly selling rate reaching 1.2 mn units/year. The Italian selling rate was 1.0 mn units/year, or a 49.6% YoY fall in sales. In the UK, with dealerships closed, registrations fell by 89.0% YoY to just over 20k units. German sales contracted by 49.5% YoY in May, with a selling rate at 1.9 mn units/year. Spanish car registrations managed just 34k units for the month, marking a drop of 72.7% YoY.
The impact of the COVID‐19 coronavirus has continued to transcend any other concerns in the West European automotive market. As we look ahead, we are paying particular attention to any new government incentive schemes, as well as wider economic relief. Our outlook remains similar to last month’s report, with a 26% contraction expected in 2020 for the region as a whole. This echoes our expectation of gradual recovery in H2 2020 spurred on by improving consumer activity as lockdown measures continue to ease.