It would be hard to write the story of 2020 without reference to Covid 19, the unprecedented nature of which caught everyone off guard. Sales were stopped altogether in March and there were difficulties between April-June. The rest of the year could be thought of as “mixed market forces” as everyone looked towards selling online.
Another problem with the year was the lack of motor shows, the New York show was first to postpone from April to August, later to be dropped altogether.
For the many automakers which relied on the Chinese supply chain both production levels and importing issues affected US supply. This was one of the many reasons that used car vehicle sales increased here – as much as 30%.
As with any year there were always the new models, such as the iconic Cadillac OT5 with a 335-horsepower twin turbo. An additional rear camera helps remove the blind spot you sometimes encounter when parking.
Ford introduced a 2020 Mustang and 2020 Fusion, the latter having an Ecoboost engine and driving assist.
One of the more popular cars was a compact crossover from Hyandai, the Tucson. Sales were still down at 900,00 units. Ford Transits sold 93,000 units which proves that businesses still need vans, even if sales were down.
Although new Jeeps and Cherokees were planned for this year as well as Toyota Highlander what happened was a slight drop; 17% for the Highlander. It could have been a whole lot worse.
The Subaru Forester showed the miniscule increase in sales: 2%.
International Car Sales:
In both May and June sales for passenger cars increased in China. Japan had the strongest sales, even if their sales were down by a fifth. Light vehicle sales were down by a quarter, but they recovered better than Europe for instance. In Russia sales were down by a quarter.
In June, France was the only country that outdid Germany and the UK. September 2020 was a good month for China, USA and Europe as sales increased, though recovery had not quite improved for Europe, it was still down by a third. Brazil had a similar decrease in figures.
There were some difficulties in September when car companies weren’t able to create WLTP** compliant vehicles. Still, Italian car sales increased by 10%, and Germany by 8%, despite the numbers from other countries contracted. Numbers of registrations increased in China for the fifth month running, which shows great promise for the rest of the world after the virus.
November 2020 the VW was the top selling model, the second being the Toyota Yaris.
Maybe it’s best to draw a line in the sand for 2020, those who run car factories and those who sell cars are more aware of the difficulty but the general conclusion inside the industry is that car sales will resume with a few modifications in 2021. After all, people are longing to get back to normal (not just new normal) as well as getting away. If planned correctly, 2021 will show a big difference, we will wait and see.
**The Worldwide Harmonised Light Vehicle Test Procedure (WLTP) laboratory test is used to measure fuel consumption and CO2 emissions from passenger cars and vans, as well as their pollutant emissions.