Data published by European automotive constructors’ trade body ACEA shows that new passenger car registrations in the European Union dropped by 19.3% in February, as COVID containment measures and uncertainty continue to weigh heavily on demand.

With 771,486 new cars registered across the EU region, this marked the lowest February total on record since 2013. All four major EU markets recorded losses last month. Italy posted the smallest drop (-12.3%), while the other markets faced stronger declines: Germany (-19.0%), France (-20.9%) and Spain (-38.4%).

From January to February 2021, total registrations of new cars in the European Union were 21.7% lower than during the same period in 2020. So far this year, demand fell in each of the major markets. Spain was the hardest hit, with sales almost halved (-44.6%) compared to last year, followed by Germany (-25.1%), France (-14.2%) and Italy (-13.1%).

If EFTA and UK car market totals are added for a Western Europe grand total, then the February drop is a little larger at 21.3% (and 758,654 units sold).

The ACEA data also shows that VW Group led the depleted February market (all Western Europe) with a share of 25.7%. However, newly formed Stellantis - which now includes volumes from what was PSA and FCA, as well as Opel/Vauxhall - is not far behind at 23.4% share. The Stellantis brand with largest share was Peugeot at 7.8%.