In December 2020, demand for new passenger cars in the European Union declined by -3.3% to 1,031,070 units, according to the latest figures from the European Automobile Manufacturers' Association (ACEA).

In December 2020, demand for new passenger cars in the European Union declined by -3.3% to 1,031,070 units. The four largest EU markets, however, recorded very different results. Italy and France both suffered double-digit losses, with car registrations down -14.9% and -11.8% respectively. By contrast, Germany posted a solid gain (+9.9%) and Spain’s performance remained stable, as the number of registrations was more or less the same as in December 2019.

Looking at full-year 2020 results, the EU passenger car market contracted by 23.7% to 9.9 million units as a direct result of the COVID-19 pandemic.

This was the biggest yearly drop in car demand since records began, with new-car registrations falling by 3 million units compared to 2019. All 27 EU markets recorded double-digit declines throughout 2020. Among the region’s biggest car markets, Spain posted the sharpest drop (-32.3%), followed closely by Italy (-27.9%) and France (-25.5%), while full-year losses were significant but less pronounced in Germany (-19.1%).

“Containment measures – including full-scale lockdowns and other restrictions throughout the year – had an unprecedented impact on car sales across the European Union”, said ACEA.