Economy, Europe

French automakers’ sales plunges amid COVID-19 outbreak

Sales drop nearly 90% in April

Cindi Cook   | 02.05.2020
French automakers’ sales plunges amid COVID-19 outbreak FILE PHOTO

PARIS

French automakers’ sales dropped 88.8.% in April, statistics showed Friday in another statistic that reflects the effects of the coronavirus epidemic on the national economy. 

The plunge comes as a result of a nationwide lockdown in place since March 17 that have closed car dealerships and put the brakes on new passenger and commercial vehicle purchases and registrations.

Car sales at this time last year hovered around the 220,000 mark, with registrations at 188,195. In April, the total number of registrations, thus full sell-through of passenger vehicles, was 20,997.

Francois Roudier, spokesman for the Committee of French Automobile Manufacturers (CCFA), which tracks statistics for all vehicles said: "It will be the recovery plan that will determine the state of the market over the year. There are a lot of unknowns."

France's auto market is dominated by Groupe PSA, which includes Peugeot, Citroen, DSA, and Opel. And Groupe Renault which includes Renault, Dacia, and Alpine.

A 20% drop is predicted in 2020. The global car market dropped 40% in March.

To aid the recovery process, the European Commission announced this week a French state guaranteed loan of €5 billion ($5.5 billion) to help Groupe Renault.

"It will help Renault obtain the liquidity it urgently needs to cope with the economic consequences of the coronavirus pandemic," said Vice President of the European Commission Responsible for Competition Magrethe Vestager

As the lockdowns approaches week seven and the coronavirus maintains a presence in 187 countries and territories, economic statistics reflect a lack of consumer activity and its ensuing consequences.

GDP in France fell 5.8% in the first quarter and is predicted to fall by 8% by year's end, its biggest drop since 1949.

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