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European car sales suffer in February

Date: 26 March 2020   |   Author: Illya Verpraet

Data from Jato Dynamics shows that in February, car sales in Europe fell by 7% year on year. This is before the coronavirus well and truly hit, so March figures will show the effects of lockdowns and social distancing.

Car sales for February follow the same trends as those for January 2020, which showed a drop of 7.6% compared to the same time last year.

Across Europe, 1,063,264 cars were registered, compared to 1,143,852 in February 2019.

Felipe Munoz, global analyst at JATO Dynamics, commented: "The situation is rapidly deteriorating in Europe due to complex regulation, lack of available homologated cars, and increasing pressure on the economy. All of these factors are having a detrimental impact on consumer confidence." 

Many countries across Europe went into lockdown mode in March, and all car factories closed, so next month's figures can be expected to be spectacularly low.

Compared to other countries, car registrations in the UK have remained relatively stable. The UK market shrank 3% year-on-year, while the other large car markets such as Germany, France and Italy shrank 11%, 2% and 8%, respectively.

The market shares of the various segments of cars have remained very constant. SUVs remain very popular, with a 39% market share in both February 2019 and 2020. It's worth noting, however, that Jato lumps all sizes of SUV together, and doesn't divide them up, like with normal cars.

The only segments with changes of more than 0.1 percentage point are MPVs, which continue their decline - from 4.0% in 2019 to 3.8% in 2020 - and vans, which rise from 3.5% to 3.9% market share, thus overtaking MPVs.

The most popular car was the Renault Clio, at 24,914 registrations, closely followed by the VW Golf, which was sold 24,735 times. That's a 21% decline compared to last year for the Golf, however. As new models for both the Golf and the Clio have just been introduced - the Clio a few months before the Golf - it's likely the Golf might rebound. UK favourite, the Ford Fiesta, lingers in 11th place, with 14,239 registrations.