Car sales fall 39% in the four-month period compared to pre-pandemic levels

The Spanish car market is unable to recover and remains on a red alert. New car sales have closed one of the worst four-month periods in recent years, with a drop of 39.3%, to 264,655 units, compared to the same period in 2019, when it was not affected by Covid-19.

According to data published this Monday by the employers’ associations of manufacturers (Anfac), dealers (Faconauto) and distribution (Ganvam), only in April they registered a “sharp fall” of 34.2%, to 78,595 cars and SUVs marketed, compared to the same month two years ago.

The associations underline that the pandemic, the uncertainty about vaccination, the successive waves of contagion, the lack of tourism, the economic crisis and the increase in the registration tax continue to affect the market.

If the data is compared with those of 2020, car registrations registered an increase of 18.8% until April and a “disproportionate” increase of 1,787% only in the fourth month of the course. However, this figure does not reflect the current reality due to the confinement that was in that month last year to stop the expansion of the coronavirus [en abril de 2020 se vendieron 4.163 vehículos].

It should be taken into account that the sales of passenger cars and SUVs in Spain registered in April of last year their worst data in 20 years -they have records since 2000- due to the closure of dealerships and the rest of the non-essential activity due to Covid-19. They stood at 4,163 units, which represented a 96.5% drop compared to the same month in 2019.

In the private channel, and continuing the comparison with 2019, 105,491 units were registered so far this year, 44.6% less, compared to 105,348 in the business channel, 24% less, and 53,816 units in that of renters, 50% less.

Only in April that of individuals fell by 35% compared to the same month of 2019, to 29,349 units, while those of companies and renters fell by 20.5% (28,954 units) and 46.5% (20,292 units), respectively .

Anfac already warned at the end of March that the recovery in car sales volumes prior to the coronavirus pandemic “will take at least one year longer than expected to arrive, not before 2023.” Specifically, he estimates that the market will “barely” grow by 8% this year compared to 2020, with about 925,000 registrations. [un 26% menos que en 2019].

The automobile market has already closed a dire year 2020 with a drop in sales of passenger cars and SUVs of 32.3%, registering a total of 851,211 registered units, the lowest figure since 2014. Since then the sector had managed to chain five years above the million units sold, But the pandemic has broken the trend.

“Sales are falling almost at half the rate that would correspond to us to reach a market figure of 1.3 million vehicles, a natural volume for a country like Spain. The recovery, which we estimated closer to the second semester, is it is delaying and we do not see, at the moment, reasons for a change in trend, “says the employers’ association of manufacturers.

Along the same lines, Faconauto warns that the April data places the sector in a “very complicated scenario” and that there is no glimmer of hope or changes in the short term. In addition, he highlights that the private channel, the one with the highest volume, “only accounts for four out of every ten sales.”

According to Ganvam, the vehicle distribution sector has lost more than 8,000 jobs so far this year. The association calls for demand stimulus plans that not only encourage the purchase of electrified models, such as the Moves III.

The Government decided not to extend the Scrappage scheme (replacing an old vehicle with a cleaner and safer one) last year and ended up with more than 200 million euros without adjudication [de un total de 250]. In mid-April, the President of the Government, Pedro Sánchez, announced that the Executive will allocate 13,200 million from the Recovery Plan (26% of the total) to the so-called “sustainable, safe and connected mobility strategy”, which involves electrifying the public roads and create charging points to facilitate the transition to electric vehicles, compared to the 10,000 announced at the end of November last year.

On the other hand, in the light commercial vehicle market, 56,403 units were registered since the beginning of the year, 24.6% less compared to the same period in 2019, and 15,875 units in April, 22% less. The industrial and bus sector ended the four-month period with sales of 7,952 units, 11% less, and 1,776 units last month, 11% less.

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