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Europe April 2020: Locked down ghost month (-78.2%) sees BMW (-64%), Skoda (-61%) hit record ranking

Skoda leaps onto the European podium for the first time in history and the Octavia is up to a record 2nd place overall.

03/06 update: Now with final figures for the Top 100 models (JATO)

29/05 update: Now with Top 55 All-brands and Top 365 All-models (JATO).

Final figures for new car sales in Europe-27 markets (EU+EFTA+UK) released by JATO Dynamics show a -78.2% year-on-year cliff jump in April to just 292.553 units as the large majority of countries were under a total, nationwide lockdown to stem the spread of COVID-19. Those of you eagle-eyed BSCB readers will know about this exact year-on-year drop as we have been updating the European April 2020 volume in our Live COVID-19 Dashboard with each country that reported sales: our last update included Cyprus and showed a -78.4% year-on-year drop across 26 markets. We will start again in early June with European May figures so make sure to bookmark our Live COVID-19 Dashboard to track sales as we update Europe data in real time. The year-to-date tally is now down -39.1% to 3.336.232 units and our 2020 European forecast now stands at -26%.

BMW is up to a record 2nd place and the X3 up to a record #11.

According to ACEA, this is the lowest monthly volume across the continent since at least 1990 when ACEA started reporting. However we anticipate it is in fact the lowest European sales volume in over 50 years potentially as Germany (-61.1%) registers its weakest month since August 1975, Spain (-96.5%) its lowest month since at least 1973, France (-88.8%) the slowest month since August 1957, Italy (-97.5%) the weakest since December 1949 and the UK (-97.3%) its lowest since February 1946. The Scandinavian markets perform markedly better than the rest of Europe this month, with Norway (-34%), Denmark (-37%), Sweden (-37.5%) and Finland (-38.6%) the only countries losing less than half their April 2019 volumes. Hungary (-50.3%), Romania (-50.3%), the Netherlands (-53%) and Czech Republic (-53.4%) follow. All rankings this month are heavily skewed by each manufacturer’s performance in Germany which accounts for a whopping 41% of all European new car sales in April vs. 25% so far in 2020.

Land Rover sinks -79.6% in April due to an over-reliance on shutdown UK.

Group-wise, the VW Group (-74.9%) posts the best hold on the podium ahead of the PSA Group (-82.4%) and Renault-Nissan-Mitsubishi (-80.4%). The BMW Group (-69.7%), Geely Group/Volvo (-68%) and Toyota Group (-76%) are the best performers in the Top 10, with the BMW Group edging past Hyundai-Kia (-79.3%) YTD to rank #4. FCA (-87.7%) is hit full-frontal by the shutdown of the Italian market. Volkswagen (-72.1%) tops the brands ranking ahead of BMW (-64%) which, if confirmed with final figures, hits a new European ranking record at #2. Skoda (-61%) does even better: thanks to the best hold in the Top 22 and a slew of new models (Kamiq, Scala and Octavia), it climbs to #3 overall, scoring its first ever European Top 5 and podium finishes and eclipsing its previous best of #6 hit last month. Toyota (-70.9%), Audi (-72%) and Mercedes (-73.8%) and Renault (-74.2%) also manage to somewhat contain their losses in the remainder of the Top 10, with Opel (-78.2%), Peugeot (-77.5%) and Ford (-77.8%) hit the hardest. Further down, Tesla (-26.1%), Ferrari (-44.2%), Lamborghini (-50.9%), DS (-61%), Volvo (-61.6%) and Porsche (-64.3%) post some of the best holds whereas Lancia (-98.1%), Mahindra (-95.7%), Smart (-95.5%), DR Motor (-92%), Infiniti (-91.4%) and Alpine (-90.1%) implode.

First European Top 10 for this generation of Toyota Corolla.

Over in the models ranking, the VW Golf (-77.8%) manage to stay atop the charts thanks to a relatively strong Germany, while the Skoda Octavia (-61.8%) is up 5 spots on April to break its all-time European ranking record at #2, landing on the podium for the second time in history after August 2017 (#3). The Renault Clio (-78.2%), VW Tiguan (-77.5%), Ford Focus (-75.9%) and Opel Corsa (-74.6%) follow just as the Peugeot 208 (-79.1%) is up 10 spots on March to #7, the Toyota Corolla (-64.4%) is up 6 to break into the European Top 10 for the first time for this generation at #8, the VW Passat (-66.2%) is up 9 to #9, its highest ranking since April 2016 and the VW T-Roc (-77.5%) is up 5 to #10, securing its third ever European Top 10 after July 2019 (#10) and August 2019 (#4). Just below, the BMW X3 (-40.9%) soars from #71 in March to #11 in April, a new European ranking record smashing its previous best of #42 hit in January 2019. The Mercedes GLE (-15.4%), Tesla Model 3 (-36.7%), BMW X5 (-42.1%), VW T-Cross (-51.1%), Renault Zoe (-47.2%), as well as the new Skoda Scala (+138.3%) and Audi e-Tron (+35.7%) all resist much better than the market in the remainder of the Top 100.

Previous month: Europe March 2020: Market collapses -51.9%, Tesla Model 3 up to 2nd place overall

One year ago: Europe April 2019: BMW (+12.5%), Citroen (+14.7%), Dacia (+13%) convince in market tilted down by UK (-0.5%)

Full April 2020 Top 10 groups, Top 55 All-brands and Top 365 All-models below.

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