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Germany First Half 2020: Market stripped off -34.5% by Covid-19 crisis to lowest in 45 years

Is this the last easy victory for the VW Golf at home?

17/07 update: Now with Top 305 All private sales models.

After hitting a 20-year high a year ago over the First Half 2019 at 1.849.000 units, the coronavirus crisis topples the German new car market down -34.5% to 1.210.622 sales, and was disappointing in June (-32.2%). This is the lowest German First Half volume in 45 years: since 1975 (1.129.670) which was the year the VW Golf debuted its reign at home. Given a VAT reduction scheduled to be implemented in July is likely to prop back sales somewhat, we have updated our 2020 forecast for Germany to 2.76m units, up from 2.7m units last month. However this would still be a -23% drop on 2019 and the lowest annual volume in the country since 1985 (2.38m).

Volkswagen (-35.1%) almost exactly matches its home market over the period to see its market share thaw slightly to 18.4% vs. 18.6% a year prior. Mercedes (-27.2%) fares better and cements its 2nd place, increasing its advantage over the third-placed brand from 1.1 to 1.5 percentage point of share. And that marque has changed: thanks to a somewhat moderate -29.3% year-on-year decline, BMW leapfrogs past Audi (-33.6%) and Ford (-41.4%) to climb onto the podium. However only 216 units separate BMW and Audi after six months and the battle for the third step of the podium is likely to be intense all the way up to the end of 2020.

Skoda has outsold Opel for the past 9 straight months.

Skoda (-33.1%) takes a decisive advantage over Opel (-48.2%) to step up to a record 6th place with 5.9% share. Up until October 2019, Skoda had only outsold Opel during two months: in July 2018 and August 2019. But starting from October 2019, Skoda has not looked back and eclipsed Opel for 9 consecutive months, and running. This is a momentous shift, because up until recently, Opel was still considered the main mass market competitor for Volkswagen in Germany, but is now distanced by its entry-market stablemate Skoda.

Seat (-26.7%) resists well enough to overtake Renault (-30.3%) and snap the 8th place it held over the FY2019. Fiat (-20.9%), bolstered by stronger-than-usual motorhome sales after the Covid-19 pandemic killed most air tourism on the continent, climbs into the Top 10 and knocks Hyundai (-38.6%) out. Further down the ranking, only Ferrari (+19.6%) and Morgan (+8.6%) sport a year-on-year gain in the entire market and only DS (-8.6%) and Lamborghini (-9.8%) manage a single-digit year-on-year drop. Lada (-11.9%), Mitsubishi (-14.5%), Jaguar (-15.5%), Bentley (-16.8%), Iveco (-17.1%), Tesla (-17.8%), Volvo (-19.6%) and Lexus (-19.7%) also contain their loss. We welcome Polestar at #48 with 18 sales.

Thanks to stable sales and a new model, the BMW 3 Series leaps up from #23 to #6.

Model-wise, the VW Golf (-43.3%) is hit by the double effect of Covid-19 and a turbulent generation changeover marred with delivery interruptions triggered by software issues. H2 2020 is likely to be even more turbulent though, as a new internal competitor, the ID.3 EV hatch, finally launches. The VW Tiguan (-32.2%) manages to slightly outpace the market to hold onto the 2nd spot but the Ford Focus (-17.8%) and VW Passat (-19.1%) both do better and advance to #3 and #4 respectively. The hero of the period is the Fiat Ducato (+7%) bolstered to record rankings in May (#2), and June (#3) due to two combining elements: pent-up demand released after the locked down months of March and April and a renewed interest in motorhome holidays in the current pandemic climate that discourages air travel. The BMW 3 Series (+0.05%), helped by a new generation, is the only additional positive model in the Top 25 at #6.

Outside the Top 10, the Seat Leon (-17.4%) and VW Caddy (-17.9%) are both up 9 spots to #16 and #22 respectively, while the Renault Clio (-7%) and Audi Q3 (-4.8%) both advance 20 ranks to #25 and #26 thanks to new generations. The VW T-Cross (+118.3%) slides into the Top 30 at #29 vs. #46 over FY2019 and #103 a year ago, with the Mercedes CLA (+48.2%), Mitsubishi Space Star (+2.5%) and Kia Ceed (+0.5%) the only additional gainers in the Top 50. The Skoda Kamiq (#44) is the most popular new launch over the period and the only one cracking the Top 50. It distances the Mazda CX-30 (#71), Ford Puma (#73), Mercedes GLB (#109) and Opel Zafira Life (#110).

Previous post: Germany June 2020: Weak result (-32.2%) tiggers lowest June since 1985 despite continued motorhome bonanza

One year ago: Germany First Half 2019: Diesel (+3%), BMW (+7.4%), Ford (+5.7%) pull market up 0.5% to best result since 2000

Full H1 2020 Top 50 All-brands and Top 345 All-models below.

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