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Europe First Half 2020: Covid-19 hit sales -39.5% to lowest in 45 years, Clio threatens Golf, Toyota (-28.1%), Skoda (-30.2%), Porsche (-15.2%) survive

The Renault Clio is bolstered by a new generation, heavy discounts and French subsidies.

31/07 update: Now with Top 56 All-brands and Top 412 All-models.

30/07 update: Now with Top 100 models.

New car sales in Europe are laminated by the Covid-19 crisis: off -39.5% year-on-year to 5.101.669 units vs. 8.427.639 over the First Half of 2019 according to preliminary figures released by ACEA including the EU, EFTA and UK. After January (-7.6%) and February (-7%) were hit by stricter emissions regulations, it was a coronavirus-induced nightmare for the European market in March (-51.9%), April (-78.2%) and May (-56.8%) before getting half its head out of the water in June (-24.1%). The volume is the lowest since ACEA started publishing Europe-wide data in 1990, and we estimate it could be the weakest H1 volume in 45 years: since 1975 as this is the scope of the debacle in Germany, still Europe’s largest new car market. The UK is at its lowest in 49 years: since 1971, France at its weakest in 51 years: since 1969, Italy at its lowest in 45 years: since 1975 and Spain at its weakest in 34 years: since 1986.

Toyota steps up from #10 to #6 brand in Europe.

Northern markets fare the best over the period with Finland (-21.4%), Norway (-24.3%) and Sweden (-25.1%) returning the smallest losses, followed by Hungary (-25.3%), Cyprus (-25.3%), the Czech Republic (-26%) and Denmark (-27.7%). Among major markets, , Germany (-34.5%) performs best but was later outsmarted by France (-38.6%) which became the only European country sporting a positive year-on-year evolution in June (+1.2%). However Italy (-46.1%), the UK (-48.5%) and Spain (-50.9%) form 3 of the 5 worst performing market in the whole of Europe, with only Croatia (-54.4%) doing worse and Portugal (-49.6%) in between.

Skoda gears up from #9 to #7 in Europe.

Group-wise, the VW Group (-36.1%) is the only one on the podium to hold back its loss to below the market rate, improving from 24.4% to 25.8% share over the period, just as the PSA Group (-45.4%) and Renault-Nissan-Mitsubishi (-41.4%) suffer from catastrophic sales in southern Europe. The Toyota Group (-27.9%) is the best performer among the Top 10 groups, leaping up two spots to #7 and gaining one percentage point of share from 4.9% to 5.9%. The Geely Group (essentially Volvo for now) also shines at -29.2% and 2.4% share but remains at #10. Next, the BMW Group (-33.7%), Hyundai-Kia (-36.1%) and Daimler AG (-37.8%) all gain marginal share year-on-year. Logically, FCA (-46.3%) suffers from the total collapse of the Italian market, while Ford (-46.4%) is hit by a ghost UK market.

Tesla drops just -15.9% in Europe over the period.

In the brands ranking, Volkswagen (-38.5%), Renault (-39%) and Peugeot (-39.6%) all evolve almost identically and in line with the market drop rate. However Mercedes (-33.1% up 2 spots), BMW (-33.1% up 1 spots), Skoda (-29.5% up 2 spots) and Toyota (-28% up 2 spots) all significantly outpace the market and leap up the ranking ladder compared to their H1 2019 ranking to rank #4, #6, #7 and #8 respectively. Reversely, Opel (-54.6%) and Ford (-45.9%) skid down while Audi (-35.7%) drops one spot to #9 despite faring better than the market. Among the next 20 best-sellers, only Porsche (-15.3%), Tesla (-17.9%), DS (-16.2%), Lexus (-25.2%) and Volvo (-28.8%) manage to significantly better the market. Below, MG (+26.9%) and Great Wall (+7850%) post the only year-on-year gains in market while Ferrari (-4.9%), Mahindra (-10.9%), Bugatti (-18.8%), Bentley (-22.8%) and Lamborghini (-25.2%) resist and Polestar appears at #52.

DS limits its fall to -16.3% thanks to the arrival of the 3 Crossback.

Over in the models ranking, the VW Golf (-45.3%) only keeps its crown by the skin of its teeth – namely 1.158 units – over the Renault Clio (-36.4%) which won 3 out of 6 months over the period including a triumphant June when it outsold the Golf by almost 13.000 sales thanks notably to heavy discounts at home in France. The Peugeot 208 (-32.2%) also benefits from a new generation and climbs 4 spots year-on-year to land on the third step of the podium, just as the VW Tiguan (-38.6%) and Ford Focus (-35.6%) round out the Top 5 exactly like a year ago. The Skoda Octavia (-36.3%) and Toyota Yaris (-42.2%) break into the Top 10 at #7 and #8 while the Renault Captur (-42.2%) remains at #10.

The Peugeot 208 steps up to #3 overall halfway through 2020.

The big losers over the period are the VW Polo (-48.9%) down 6 spots to #9 and undoubtedly cannibalised by both the T-Cross and T-Roc, and the Ford Fiesta (-44.5%) down 5 ranks to #11 penalised by a more premium pricing and a woeful UK market. On the up, the VW T-Roc (-38.7%) gains 4 spots to #12, the Mercedes A-Class (-38.2%) is up 5 to #15 and the Toyota Corolla (+16.6%) signs the only year-on-year gain in the Top 20, up 33 spots to #17. The VW T-Cross (+100.9%) is up from #111 over H1 2019 when it started its career to #23 this year, the BMW 3 Series (-8%) and Hyundai Kona (-14.6%) are both up 19 spots to #24 and #27 respectively and the Volvo XC40 (-0.4%) is up 38 to #34 thanks to the success of its new PHEV variant. The Ford Puma (#46) is the only recent launch (<12 months) managing a Top 50 finish, it distances the Skoda Kamiq (#54), Mazda CX-30 (#87), Kia Xceed (#102) and and Audi Q3 Sportback (#103). 

Previous post: Europe June 2020: France (+1.2%) helps limit fall to -24.1%, Volvo & Porsche up, Renault Clio triumphs, Peugeot 2008 scores first ever Top 10

One year ago: Europe First Half 2019: Dacia, Mitsubishi, Tesla can’t help market down -3.1%

Full H1 2020 Top 10 groups, Top 56 All-brands and Top 412 All-models vs. Full H1 2019 figures below.

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