June a mixed month of new-car registrations for France, Spain and Italy

02 July 2021

France, Spain and Italy all experienced double-digit declines in June, compared with the same period in 2019. This was despite the fact each country had more working days in the month than in June 2019. While France and Italy did see significantly reduced drops against those in May, Spain’s registrations darkened.

Last year represented a huge upset for the industry as COVID-19 drove figures downwards. To compare 2021’s registrations with this period would wield non-representative results of enormous spikes as markets attempt to recover. Therefore, 2019 continues to be the more stable point of reference for new-car registrations. Autovista24 will continue to compare against this period, with all data references made against 2019 figures.

Positive movement 

According to the latest data published by the CCFA, France saw 199,509 registrations of new-passenger cars last month, slumping by 13.6%. This looks to be a vast improvement on May’s decline of 27.3%. However, considering there were three additional working days last month, the drop can be recalculated to a more understandable 25.4%. Autovista24 calculates the monthly seasonally-adjusted annualised rate (SAAR) in France rose to 1.8 million, the highest level so far this year.

There is likely to be an impact on new-car registrations this month, as incentives for electrically-chargeable vehicles (EVs) were reduced by €1,000 on 1 July.

Meanwhile, Italy’s new-car registrations totalled 149,438, falling by 13.3% last month compared with June 2019, data from industry association ANFIA shows. This is a significant improvement on the 27.9% decline in May. Italy only had one additional working day last month and adjusting for this, the country saw only a marginally steeper comparative decline of 17.4%. In June, the country’s SAAR was able to climb back from May’s dip of 1.4 million up to 1.6 million.

Continuing the trend of the previous three months, even the positive market result for June 2021 actually derives from the comparison with June 2020 still in double-digit decline (-23.1%).

Paolo Scudieri, President of ANFIA

The association took the chance to identify the necessity of supporting domestic demand. Specifically, the refinancing of purchase incentives for the 61-135 g/km CO2 bracket. ANFIA believes these were exhausted too early to trigger any real recovery within the sector. The association compares the first two months of 2021, when incentives were in play, with the first two months of 2020, which had not yet felt the effects of the pandemic. Here additional registrations of low-emissions cars are estimated to have reached 40,000 – some 28% more. ANFIA states this means a more decisive push to renew the older and most polluting vehicle fleet, as well as more support for automotive companies still suffering from COVID-19 induced measures.

Disappointing June

In the traditionally strong month of June, only 96,785 new cars were registered in Spain. This equated to a decrease of 25.8% compared with the same month in 2019, according to new data released by ANFAC. This was a further dip on the 24.1% decline in May. Compared with 2019, the country had two additional working days. So, adjusting for this, Spain endured an even more difficult decline of 32.6%. Autovista24 calculates that the SAAR in Spain fell from nearly one million in May to roughly 900,000 last month.

Although the rental channel was pulling the market in the first days, the truth is that it is not capable of compensating by itself for the very serious weakness of the private channel, which registers sales in June lower than 2019 and 2020.

Noemi Navas, communication director of ANFAC

The body explained that the slight recovery of tourism helped bolster rentals, but the channel still saw registrations fall by 29%. Meanwhile, the retail channel saw lower registrations both compared to 2019 (down 28%) and 2020 (down 19%). ANFAC has high hopes that a temporary reduction of the Registration Tax, which should come into effect in July, could help bolster deliveries in this channel, which has both the highest volume and the most sensitivity to price variations.  

‘This reduction, added to the recovery of tourism and certain economic activity due to vaccination, could boost sales in the second half, although they will undoubtedly remain below the 2019 records,’ ANFAC said.