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Sweden April 2020: Lockdown-free market down -37.5%, rechargeable cars up 38.7%

The Volvo XC40 is the only Top 8 model to gain volume year-on-year.

Faced with the COVID-19 pandemic, Sweden has chosen not to go the lockdown route, instead opting for social distancing recommendations. As a result the confirmed infections and deaths have continued to rise steadily, from 4.435 and 180 respectively as of March 31 to 21.589 and 2.697 as of April 30. Although not as high as Belgium (696), Spain (544) or Italy (487), the Swedish death rate per million inhabitants (276) is above that of the US (216). Both the continued rise of cases and the high death rate could mean the coronavirus disruption may linger over a longer period of time compared to most of its European neighbours which are now in the reopening phase of the crisis.

For now, the absence of lockdown has enabled Swedish new car sales to drop “just” -37.5% year-on-year in April to 18.916 units, which the best European result so far below Norway (-34%) which we will cover shortly. The year-to-date volume is now down -18.3% to 85.057 registrations. BIL Sweden has revised its annual forecast for 2020 from 330.000 to 270.000 sales which is slightly above the annual average of the 1990s. The one piece of good news this month is the continued sales “explosion” of rechargeable cars, up 38.7% year-on-year to 4.270 units and 22.6% share vs. just 10.1% a year ago in April 2019. This includes 3.230 PHEVs (+89.3%) and 1.040 EVs (-24.2%). Year-to-date, rechargeable sales are up 76.1% to 22.743 and 26.8% share vs. 12.4% over the same period in 2019, including 16.065 PHEVs (+115.6%) and 6.678 EVs (+22.2%)

Volvo (-46.6%) is hit a lot harder than the market this month but manages to hold onto the brands top spot at 16.3% share vs. 14.2% for Volkswagen (-27.9%) holding very well. Mercedes (-49.9%) leaps up 4 spots to #3 despite falling frankly faster than the market, knocking Kia (-38.9%) out of the podium. The rest of the Top 10 entirely outpace the market, with Seat (-19.9%), Audi (-20.1%) and Renault (-22%) performing best while BMW (-26.9%), Toyota (-30.1%) and Skoda (-34.4%) are also relatively strong. Further down, Iveco (+100%), Land Rover (+75%), Bentley (+50%), Hyundai (+25%) and DS (+5.9%) are the only gainers in market while Peugeot (-21.2%), Mini (-22.6%) and Fiat (-23.3%) contain their loss.

Despite taking a larger hit than the market, the Volvo S/V60 (-46.7%) and S/V90 (-45.2%) top the models charts for the month, distancing the VW Passat (-1.6%), Volvo XC60 (-49%) and VW Golf (-45.5%). In fact the two brands monopolise the Top 7 with the VW Tiguan (-54%) and XC40 (+3.9%) also slipping in, just as the VW T-Cross (+326.9%) scores its third Top 10 finish in the past 5 months. Other gainers in the Top 50 include the Fiat Tipo (+906.3%), Hyundai Ioniq (+295%), Audi e-Tron (+239.5%), Audi A5 (+237.3%), BMW X1 (+180.5%), Hyundai Kona (+43.9%),  Seat Ibiza (+31.6%), Peugeot 208 (+26.9%), BMW X3 (+25.8%) and Nissan Leaf (+23%).

Previous month: Sweden March 2020: Kia (+11.2%), Tesla (+22.9%) defy market down -8.6%

One year ago: Sweden April 2019: Mercedes (+41.6%) stays afloat in 10th consecutive double-digit decline (-11.6%)

Full April 2020 Top 45 All-brands and Top 240 All-models below.

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