New passenger vehicle registrations in key European countries like France, Italy and Spain rebounded in May from the prior month, as easing lockdown measures enabled car dealerships to reopen.
Though car sales in France declined by 50.3pc from May 2019 to 96,310 units, registrations jumped by 359pc from 20,997 units in April, according to the latest statistics published Comité des Constructeurs Français d’Automobiles (CCFA) on June 1.
Italy, which saw some of the earliest lockdown measures in Europe, recorded 99,700 new vehicle registrations in May, compared with 4,279 in the prior month, according to data released by Asociación Española de Fabricantes de Automóviles y Camiones (ANFAC) on June 1.
Spain witnessed a similar picture with some 34,337 vehicles sold in May compared to 4,163 units the prior month, according to data released by the Associazione Nazionale Filiera Industria Autombilistica (ANFIA) on June 1.
While these numbers show a glimmer of hope for the European automotive sector, Spain’s car dealers association (GANVAM) warned not to read too deeply into May’s figures and a short-term recovery.
A GANVAM spokesperson commented that economic uncertainty will prompt families to become more cautious with spending while highlighting that car rental companies would not renew their fleets due to restrictive inter-country movement negatively affecting tourism.
This stance is not surprising as many automotive industry associations across Europe have been lobbying their respective governments for stimulus packages to energize vehicle purchases and reinvigorate flailing economies.