London – The second round of coronavirus lockdowns, which has closed showrooms in France and the UK, will come at a cost of about 300,000 new car sales in Europe, acording to analyst firm LMC Automotive.
The expected sales losses have led LMC to slightly revise downward its full-year Europe-wide sales forecast, to a decline of 22% from 2019.
The company had earlier downgraded its western Europe forecast, just before new lockdown measures were put in place in late October and early this month.
“The second wave of lockdowns hampered recovery,” LMC analyst Jonathon Poskitt said 19 Nov in an online presentation, “and we have a decidedly tricky number of months to navigate before vaccines arrive."
Recent reports of successful Covid-19 vaccine trials could help the European auto market recover next year, he said.
“Vaccines are certainly good news, but it will take time for them to gain critical mass, well into 2021,” Poskitt said.
The new lockdowns and second surge of coronavirus have also hurt consumer confidence, he said – leading LMC to take an additional 250,000 vehicles out of its 2021 first-half sales forecast.
"We've seen a strong V-shaped recovery but that has since ebbed away as regional and national lockdowns have taken a toll," Poskitt said.
Overall, LMC expects global sales this year to be 77 million vehicles, a 14% drop from 2019. 2021 sales are expected to be 85 million vehicles, a 10% increase.
By region, LMC’s current 2020 light-vehicle demand forecast is as follows:
Europe: Sales of 16.2 million vehicles, a 22% decline from 2019. Next year, sales will increase by 15% to 18.7 million.
North America: Sales of 17 million vehicles, a 16% decline from 2019. Sales will increase by 9% to 18.5 million in 2021.
China: Sales of 24.1 million vehicles, a 6% decline from 2019. Sales in 2021 are expected to be 25.8 million, a 7% increase.
Another analyst, IHS Markit, said at the end of October that it expects global sales to drop 16% this year, to 75 million units from 90 million in 2019. Sales in 2021 are forecast at 82 million, a 9% increase.
IHS expects western Europe sales to fall by 24% in 2020 to 12.5 million units compared with 2019, but then increase by 12% next year to 14 million units.