The largest decrease in car sales in Spain over the past 20 years

Jose Luis Barceló, El Mundo Financiero (Spain)

Car dealers in Spain closed their operations in April due to restrictive measures taken by the government in order to reduce the coronavirus crisis. This has caused the largest decrease in car sales over the past 20 years.

Photo by Lenny Kuhne from Unsplash


According to data gathered by Anfac, an association of manufacturers, Faconauto, an association of car dealers and Ganvam, association of car dealerships, only 4.1163 units were registered in April, 96.5% less than in the same month in the previous year.

The automotive market has been falling for the second month in a row, as only 37,644 units were registered in March, 69.3% less than in the previous year, which means that in the first four months of the year the car industry fell by 49%.

Although some manufacturers, such as Citroën, Fiat, DS and Volvo, have presented interesting offers through their online channels, only a few registrations correspond to the commitments made before the coronavirus crisis. The largest decrease was recorded in purchases made by private individuals, only 823 units were registered in April. Companies also reduced their purchases by 97.3 percent, which caused market stagnation. 993 cars sold in April went to companies and 2334 vehicles to car rental companies.

The re-opening of car showrooms will begin in May and the visit will be possible through a pre-arranged meeting and maintaining a strict health and safety protocol for clients and employees. Although various associations already indicate that the market will not start to regenerate by the end of summer, and if this happens, always with lower sales rates than those recorded in 2019.

Both Anfac and Faconauto have changed their forecasts for the year, they estimate that car sales will fall from 40 to 45 percent in 2020.

The automotives industry calls for implementation of preventive measures to limit the negative effects of the coronavirus crisis and to revive the market. According to them, private vehicles are of great importance, because it is likely that many people will choose them instead of public transport.

According to Faconauto, “the reopening of dealerships, planned for  May 11, when Spain starts the second phase of lifting the restrictions” imposed on March 14, will reactivate the sector, although on the other hand they also expect “very slow sales growth.”

The sector records very negative performance.  The car population in Spain, one of the oldest in the European Union, still has not recovered after the crisis in 2008, because in Spain 62% of vehicles are over 10 years old and six million are over 20 years old.