European auto sales up in September, first time in 2020

The European auto market, pummeled by the coronavirus crisis, rose in September for the first time this year, driven by gains in Germany and Italy, figures showed Friday, October 16.

September new car registrations in the European Union (EU) rose 3.1% from a year earlier to 933,987, the European Automobile Manufacturers Association (ACEA) said in a statement.

Car sales plummeted 55.1% in March and then 76.3% in April as countries went into lockdown in an effort to curb the outbreak, but they have recovered some lost ground as restrictions were relaxed.

The overall picture is very uneven however and the market as a whole is down very sharply. 

Italy new car registrations rose 9.5% and Germany, Europe's economic powerhouse, added 8.4%, but France was down 3% and Spain off 13.5%.

For the 9 months to September, registrations fell nearly 29% on the same period in 2019.

ACEA, which groups 16 top EU automakers, expects the market to shrink 25% for the full year.

In January, it said it was expecting the 2020 market to slip 2% after 6 years of strong gains brought it back to near record levels. –