The new home market is still struggling to get paint back just a year after a historically disastrous month in April for auto sales. In the face of this debacle, the used market is developing like never before.
Two months of decline in January and February
Where is the French automobile market? Has it recovered from the economic slowdown following the Covid-19 crisis? The question arises for two reasons. First, because at the end of the first quarter of 2021 it had not yet regained color.
At the beginning of the year, new vehicle sales in France fell 5.85% in January compared to a year earlier. Even more worrying This decline was further exacerbated in Februarywith only 132,600 registrations, a drop in sales of almost 21%with a view to February 2020.
The comparison with the months of January and February 2020 is eloquent: the coronavirus had not yet brought the economy to a standstill. The sales made in these two months can therefore compare the service. After two consecutive declines this year compared to the previous year, this therefore means The automotive market had not returned to pre-crisis levels in January and February.
How can you compare such different time periods?
However, the figures show that overall sales in the first quarter (including March) developed well: + 21.1% in France as in the entire European market (+ 3.2%).
Sales in March appear to have made up for deficits in January and February. Across Europe, the increase in registrations in 2020 is even spectacular: + 62.7%. This impressive number is easy to explain, however: it shows the increase in sales compared to March 2020, the month when the first strict national restrictions were introduced. It would therefore have been difficult to do worse than a year earlier …
To avoid those kind of comparison periods that have nothing to do in terms of production and consumption, the last month’s sales are calculated in relation to April … 2019. And this is the second reason why it is interesting to look at the numbers for the month of April. Because the French automobile market had the worst month in its history: Sales fell by 90%.
To remind you of the extent of the break-in, we only had it in the first week of April 2020 200 new cars elapsed per day, against more than 6,000 one year ago. A comparison of the months of April 2020 and April 2021 would therefore have made little sense.
No recovery in April, even compared to 2019
But then what about April 2019? Registrations are down again and have fallen sharply: -25.38% or a quarter of sales less than in April 2019 and with the same number of working days.
The French manufacturers still seem to have problems: the group Stellantis (Peugeot, Citroën, DS and Opel) posted a 30% drop in sales last month (still compared to 2019), hardly better than the group Renault (Renault, Dacia, Alpine): -32.50%.
The used market at a historically high level
The only glimmer of hope on the board: used car sales. The used market has been booming since the beginning of the crisis. But especially in this first half of the year. In April, used sales rose by almost 3%.
He had never sold so many used cars since January: 2 million registrationsThis corresponds to an increase of almost 45% compared to the previous year, but also by 8.7% compared to 2019.
How can you explain this madness? Initially for economic reasons, with the option of buying a cheaper vehicle in times of crisis and uncertainty. This market could also benefit from sales between individuals as traders experienced periods of closure and hygiene restrictions. After all, the new home market remains punished by a global shortage of electronic chips, at work since the beginning of the year and there is a risk that car insurance premiums will rise.
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