Analysis of preliminary data for March shows that light vehicle sales rose 69% year-on-year. Clearly, the result is misleading due to the pandemic induced historic lows of late Q1 2020. In comparison with 2019, sales at just under 1.5m were off by 20%.
The proclamation in the headline will seem incongruous to many coming just after the European manufacturers’ trade body, ACEA, has reported that European car sales fell 20% in February. However, the COVID-19 ravaged sales months of March and April 2020 will soon come into play and will bring some headline grabbing figures when year-on-year comparisons are made.
As the UK marks a year since its first population lockdown and the auto industry – among many industries – reflects on a year of unprecedented turmoil caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, Calum MacRae offers some thoughts on what has been learnt
The first month of light vehicle sales for 2021 have now been collated for global markets. They show a marginal rise of 0.6% when compared with last year. The SAAR came in at 81.46m, the lowest since June 2020, and slightly below the level of January 2020 due to a different balance to regional sales.
West Europe, which has largely been in an extended lockdown from late December and through January since the identification of a more infectious COVID-19 variant, saw new light vehicle sales plummet in January by an estimated 22.6% year on year.
It has been reported that China’s First Automotive Works (FAW) is in talks to acquire Brilliance China Automotive Holdings (Brilliance) for $7.2bn. The deal is raised as a prospect with Brilliance’s major shareholder, Huachen Automotive Group, on the brink of bankruptcy.
The final light vehicle sales figures for the year are now in and December’s results, with global sales falling by a marginal 0.2% year-on-year, were a reflection of the remarkable resilience the auto market has demonstrated in the most trying of years.
The news that Apple’s Project Titan, the on then off again project for an iCar, was back on again has brought much discussion in the industry. Adapting the old adage, often applied to ownership of football clubs, that to be a millionaire owner you need to start with a billion could be applied to the automotive industry. Plenty have tried to enter the most capital intensive of industries in the past only to retreat with tails between legs.