The West European selling rate fell to 12.3 mn units/year in November, with car registrations down 14.1% year‐on‐year (YoY), as a second wave of COVID‐19 induced many national lockdowns across the region and stifled any hope of continued recovery. Consumer confidence nosedived, disrupting previous gains, as the economic reality of more restrictions sunk in.
In the UK, the selling rate fell to 1.7 mn units/year – the lowest level since June. In Spain, the selling rate remained in line with the previous month’s disappointing 1.0 mn units/year. For France, the selling rate fell to 1.7 mn units/year, though this drop would have been worse if not for the delivery of some pre‐lockdown orders. The initial boost from incentive support began to wear off in the Italian market, with the selling rate easing back to 1.8 mn units/year. Germany was the only major market to see selling rate growth, to 3.6 mn units/year in November.
The imposition of varying degrees of national lockdown measures across the region has undoubtedly dealt another serious blow to sales activity, and while news of an effective vaccine is certainly positive, the logistical challenges of mass inoculation means the near‐term outlook is still marred with the potential for further restrictions on movement as we head to the close of 2020 and into 2021. Bearing this in mind, our forecast for 2021 stands at 12.5 mn units, with selling rates expected to exhibit a gradual uptick as we move further through 2021 and past this current crisis.