Europe 2020 auto sales to plunge record 25%

PARIS • Auto sales in Europe this year will tumble a record 25% due to the coronavirus pandemic which has left manufacturers facing a “major economic crisis”, a top industry group said yesterday.

The European Automobile Manufacturers’ Association (ACEA) also urged the European Union (EU) and member state governments to help the industry recover and safeguard jobs.

EU car sales will “tumble by more than three million from 12.8 million units in 2019 to some 9.6 million units this year”, ACEA said in a statement.

So far this year, the auto market has shrank 41.5% due to the impact of Covid-19 lockdowns, but ACEA said the situation should improve somewhat as restrictions are eased.

“In terms of percentage change, the bleak outlook represents the sharpest drop ever witnessed by Europe’s automobile sector,” it said.

“ACEA maintains hope that this dramatic scenario can be mitigated through fast and strong measures by the EU and national governments,” group head Eric-Mark Huitema said in the statement.

“Given the unprecedented collapse in sales to date, purchase incentives and scrappage schemes are urgently required right across the EU to create much-needed demand for new cars.

“In the interest of our industry and the wider EU economy, we are calling for the necessary political and economic support…to limit the damage to production and employment over the months to come.” — AFP