LMC Automotive European Passenger Car Sales Update (October 2020)



  • West European car registrations fell by 6.3% year‐on‐year (YoY) in October, with the selling rate remaining stable at 12.7 mn units/year, as inflated post‐lockdown activity continues to dissipate in favour of a far more pessimistic outlook for the rest of the year. Although various ongoing government incentive schemes continue, this was another month of fairly disappointing selling rates.
  • In Germany, the selling rate gently rose to 3.2 mn units/year, up from 3.1 mn units/year the previous month. Sales in the UK dropped 1.6% YoY in October, with the selling rate rising to 2.1 mn units/year, a respectable month‐on‐month improvement, albeit still a weak figure in comparison to 2019. The Spanish selling rate disappointed again, falling to just under 1.0 mn units/year. In France, the selling rate remains barely above 2.0 mn units/year, struggling to rise. The only substantial break from these disappointing results was the Italian market, which saw strong incentive support keep the selling rate at 1.9 mn units/year.
  • The sluggish pace of regional recovery continues much as in our last report, but the incoming second wave of national lockdown measures, as already seen in the UK and France, are likely to disrupt the already fragile path of recovery immensely. As such, our full‐year 2020 forecast has been revised downward, with the likelihood of disruption early next year ever growing. That said, expect a strong YoY improvement for 2021 under the assumption that the extent of lockdown disruption is not repeated to the same level as in 2020.