The automotive sector is unable to recover pre-pandemic sales. The data from the manufacturers association Anfac, published this Thursday, indicate that the registrations of passenger cars and SUVs in the first half of this year stood at 456,833 units. This is 34.4% more than the same period of the previous year, in which Spain was mired in confinement due to the pandemic. But if compared to the same period in 2019, when there were no mobility restrictions, the cumulative drop is 34%. Thus, the sector has lost a third of the market it had before the pandemic in the first half of this year.
The month of June, with the beginning of summer, is a traditionally advantageous month for vehicle registrations. But this time all vehicle sales segments have fallen both in the month and in the accumulated of the year, if compared to the year before the pandemic. In June, 96,785 units were registered, which represents a growth of 17% compared to June 2020, but a fall of 25.8% compared to June 2019.
The channel that shows the best performance is that of renters. Encouraged by the recovery of tourism, in June 29,169 cars and SUVs were registered for this segment, when in the same month last year less than 10,000 units were sold. However, the drop in sales to renters compared to 2019 is 29%. More serious is the private channel, in which not only has it been sold less than in the year before the pandemic, but it has not recovered ground compared to last year, when the market was stopped. It is the only channel that in June did not grow compared to the same month of 2020, and in fact it fell by 19%.
In a statement, Anfac has expressed its confidence that the temporary reduction of the Registration tax, scheduled for this month of July, will boost sales to individuals, the most important channel and most sensitive to price variations. The measure of reducing the tax together with the incipient recovery of tourism and activity thanks to the vaccination campaign is what gives hope to the sector to increase sales in the second half of this year, although they admit that they will not recover the data for 2019 .
The employers’ associations of manufacturers (Anfac), dealerships (Faconauto) and sellers and workshops (Ganvam) emphasize that the rental channel “has not been able to compensate by itself for the very serious weakness of the private channel, which registered sales in June lower than 2019 and 2020 ″. This data, they point out, “has a special impact because June is traditionally a strong month for sales, prior to holidays and the arrival of tourists.”
In addition to the impact of the pandemic on the pockets of potential buyers, and the doubts regarding which technology to choose in a context of changes in the automotive sector, manufacturers and dealers have an added problem. Sporadic interruptions of car production in all Spanish factories due to the global lack of semiconductors has weighed down on supply. The sector is aware that this problem will not disappear in the coming months. The forecast, therefore, is that it will affect the improvement of the market that was foreseen for the second half of the year. “There are, however, elements for optimism that can reverse the situation: mainly the temporary reduction of the registration tax, which will attract undecided customers, and also the exponential increase in mobility of the Spanish that we are already attending,” he explains Raúl Morales, spokesperson for Faconauto.
In the segment of electrified, hybrid and gas vehicles, 35,413 units were registered in June, an increase of 127% compared to June 2020. This strong growth is also explained by the effect of the pandemic on sales from the previous year: in June 2020 only 15,612 cars of these types were sold. Manufacturers highlight that, during the first half of the year, one in three cars sold was zero or low emissions.