After a year that saw the sharpest drop ever in EU car sales due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the European Automobile Manufacturers’ Association (ACEA) forecasts that 2021 will mark a “first step on the path to recovery”, with sales rising by about 10% compared to 2020.

The EU passenger car market contracted by 23.7% to 9.9 million units in 2020, a drop of 3 million units compared to 2019, and “the fallout of COVID is expected to persist into the first quarter of 2021, but the car market should pick up in the second half of the year as vaccination programmes progress”, says ACEA.

Boosted by increasing industry investments and national support measures to stimulate demand during the COVID crisis, the market share of electrically-chargeable cars in the EU grew strongly last year, with provisional 2020 figures showing an EU-wide market share of 10.5 % (up from 3% in 2019).

“With the right policy support, including a massive ramp-up of charging and refuelling infrastructure for alternative fuels across all EU member states, this positive trend can continue”, commented ACEA’s new President, Oliver Zipse, who is also CEO of BMW. “Despite the economic pressures caused by the pandemic, our industry remains fully committed to its ongoing transformation to carbon neutrality”, he added.