H1 2020 has proven to be a big challenge for the auto industry. With very rare exceptions, the situation is dramatic in all markets, as indicated by data coming from almost 100 countries. During the first six months of this year the industry sold 11,818,000 units less than in H1 2019.
Global volume totaled 33,075,000 units, down by 26%. The COVID-19 pandemic was the reason to see the lowest H1 since 2009, when the financial crisis hit the global markets. Although it is a massive drop, the industry has been able to restart after some months of lockdown.
Q2 worse than Q1
Car and LCV sales perform the same way the virus spreads. China and some Asian markets were hit first, taking global sales down by 24% in Q1. As the pandemic arrived in Europe, India, USA and Latin America during Q2, the sales started to fall in those markets too. In Q2, there were more countries facing the difficulties of lockdowns than those recovering from the virus.
This is why the second quarter was worse than the first one. Sales fell from 17.15 million units in Q1 to 15.87 million in Q2, and the percentage variation compared to the respective quarters in 2019 were -24% and -29% respectively.
April was the worst month as global sales tumbled by 43%, and Chinese volume counting for 52% of the world’s volume. However, the worrying part of Q2 is that it showed that the recovery in Europe and USA is looking closer to a “U” recovery than the “V” recovery trend seen in China. This means that the industry will need to wait longer to see pre-crisis sales levels.
June, second best month so far
Global sales fell by “only” 14% in June to a bit more than 6.6 million units. Therefore it was the best result in terms of volume and the second best monthly variation in 2020, only outperformed by January, when the virus was just an epidemic in central China.
This is perhaps the most positive side of this nightmare, because it is showing a solid and constant recovery not only in China but in the Western world. However, it is still early to say that the recovery is a long-lasting trend, as the world has not declared the end of war against COVID-19. A second wave could hit Europe and USA in autumn and sales could be hit again.
Source: OICA, Autonews, FGW database, ACEA