New vehicle registrations plummeted by 55.1pc in the EU just as the COVID-19 crisis began to take hold last month, according to the European Automobile Manufacturers Association (EAMA).
The overwhelming majority of car dealerships on the continent were closed during the latter half of March, causing registrations to decline from 1.3mn in March 2019 to 567,308 units last month. The EU, which is comprised of 27 regions, had declines in all of its markets, but none more so than Italy, where registrations decreased by 85.4pc to 28,326 new automobiles—a marked contrast to March 2019 when it recorded 194,302 new registrations.
France and Spain both fared nearly as badly as Italy, according to EAMA data, with new registrations falling by 72.2pc and 69.3pc, respectively, while Germany reported a 37.7pc decline.
Through the first three months of the year, demand for new cars within the EU, decreased by 25.6pc, primarily driven by steep declines in March when member states began instituting work-from-home orders. Between January and March, new car registrations in Italy declined by 35.5pc, by 34.1pc in France, by 31pc in Spain, and by 20.3pc in Germany.