Renault and PSA start very badly 2020

The European automobile market for cars appears in the red at the start of 2020. In January, sales fell 7.5%, in particular following regulatory changes. French manufacturers have suffered particularly, according to figures released Tuesday. The Renault group (with Alpine, Dacia, Lada) did half as well as the average, with deliveries down 16.3%, just like its French rival PSA (Peugeot, Citroën, DS, Opel, Vauxhall) in drop of 12.9%, according to figures from the Association of European Automobile Manufacturers (ACEA). In total, almost 957,000 new passenger cars were put on the roads of the European Union. The four main markets were in the red: France (-13.4%), Spain (-7.6%), Germany (-7.3%) and Italy (-5.9 %).

Brexit obliges, the ACEA established for the first time its statistics for the EU outside the United Kingdom, by restating the figures for 2019 in order to allow comparisons from one year to the next. The fall in January is undoubtedly the result of a month of December artificially inflated by the anticipation of regulatory changes that occurred with the new year. On the one hand, the EU is now forcing manufacturers to respect an average CO2 emissions ceiling of 95 grams per kilometer, on their range, under penalty of heavy fines, in order to fight global warming.

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On the other hand, several states increased car taxation on January 1, like France, which implemented a sharp increase in the penalty on the most polluting vehicles. “Major tax changes announced for 2020 by some EU member states have caused registration anticipation in December 2019, which explains the fall in January,” said ACEA in a press release. “Other factors have played such as the deterioration of the economic context and the uncertainty caused by the UK's exit from the EU,” added the manufacturers' association. The automobile industry may well begin a bearish cycle. After six consecutive years of growth, ACEA forecasts a 2% drop in registrations in 2020.

In January, the German group Volkswagen however resisted well, consolidating its first place in Europe. Its registrations only decreased by 0.4%, allowing it to increase its market share by 1.9 points. The Volkswagen label alone fell by 6.6%, but Skoda deliveries held up well (-1.4%), while Audi (+ 6.4%), Seat (+ 10.4 %) and Porsche (+ 76.4%) managed to pull up the giant with twelve brands. The gap widened with the second European manufacturer, PSA, which lost one point of market share. Within the French group, Peugeot (-8.5%) and Citroën (-6.5%) fell, while Opel fell 27.5%. The young brand with high-end ambitions, DS, jumped 50.9%, in volumes however insignificant. On the third place of the podium, the Renault group also abandoned a point of market share. The diamond brand (-7.4%), which renewed last year its “bestsellers”, the city car Clio and the urban SUV Captur, fell almost at the same rate as the market. But its “low-cost” subsidiary Dacia fell 30.2%.

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Ford and Mazda in the red, Toyota soars

Among other manufacturers, January's results are mixed. As for the winners, the Hyundai group (with Kia) increased by 0.5%, Mitsubishi by 1.2%, BMW (with Mini) by 5.2%. Toyota, with its high-end subsidiary Lexus, particularly shone (+ 12.2%), continuing to benefit from the craze for its petrol-electric hybrid models, while motorists are turning away from diesel engines. Mercedes (-0.1%), Nissan (-4.1%) and Fiat Chrysler (-6.7%) fell less than the market. On the other hand, the year started badly for Ford (-22.7%) and Mazda (-30.2%), as well as for “premium” specialists Jaguar Land Rover (-12.8%) and Volvo ( -18.1%).

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Flavien Neuvy, director of the Cetelem Observatory of the automobile, however warns against hasty analyzes: “over a month, it is always very difficult to draw conclusions, to compare one manufacturer to another. is all the more difficult as it is the first month of the year, after an atypical month of December and changes in rules. “

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