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West European Passenger Car Market Update: May 2020

A small step back to normality? 

The West European passenger car market experienced a 57 per cent fall during May compared to the same month last year according to automotive intelligence provisional compiled data. 


This was an improvement on the 80 per cent year-on-year decline witnessed in the previous month, as showrooms began opening in a number of notable markets such as Germany, Austria and Italy.

Electric cars continue to outperform the total market

Early data indicates that once again the pure electric BEV passenger car market, continuing on from April, fell at a significantly slower pace than the overall market. During May provisional data indicates that the market declined by a single percentage fall, leading to a fourth consecutive month of above 4 per cent monthly market penetration. The latest monthly European Electric Car Report is available here

The European Electric Car Report still expects a full-year BEV market penetration to double to 5 per cent over full-year 2019 levels (2.5%) bringing 2020 full year BEV volumes to above 0.5 million units for the first time with increased subsidies in France and Germany, as well as a summer introduction of subsidies in The Netherlands too signalling a strong increase in the second half of the year.

Opening 5-months fell by -44% y/y

The total passenger car market during the opening 5-months of the year experienced a 44 per cent decline which was a slight increase over the opening 4-months period (-39.9%) over the same period last year.

Total market set for a 20 per cent fall in 2020

The general consensus across industry forecasters' is that the market will experience a 20 per cent fall during 2020 compared to previous year levels, however, this is dependent on various scenarios such as a second corona wave in the closing months of the year which could once again shutter key production and distribution networks as witnessed during March and April.

Q3 expected to see improvement while Q4 a return to previous year levels according to Volkswagen

Volkswagen Group is forecasting a strong second-quarter decline with an improvement in the third quarter and fourth quarter volumes expected to meet last year levels with the entire year set to experience a 20 per cent fall.

Stormy skies IAA Frankfurt Auto Show
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