Virus lockdowns send European car sales down 55%

PARIS, France – European automobile sales fell by 55% last month due to the coronavirus outbreak as lockdown measures went into effect in most nations, the industry's trade association said on Friday, April 17.

New car registrations – a proxy for sales – slumped to 567,308 vehicles last month, compared to over 1.2 million during the same month last year, the European Automobile Manufacturers Association (ACEA) said.

"All 27 EU markets contracted in March, but Italy took the biggest hit, with registrations falling by 85.4% to 28,326 new cars," ACEA said.

France was also particularly hard hit with a 72.2% drop, as was Spain where sales tumbled 69.3%.

In Germany, where restrictions have been less onerous, sales fell by 37.7%.

For the first 3 months of the year, sales were down by 25.6% to 2.48 million vehicles.

All carmakers suffered, but Fiat Chrysler saw the worst drop, at 76.6%, as it is heavily dependent upon Fiat's home market of Italy

Volkswagen Group remained the top selling automaker in Europe, and even saw its market share increase to 26.6% in the 1st quarter of the year with just over 660,000 sales. – Rappler.com