Light car market fell 31.5% in the first quarter | Automobiles

Light car market fell 31.5% in the first quarter | Automobiles
Light car market fell 31.5% in the first quarter | Automobiles
In March 16,099 new vehicles were registered in Portugal. This is an increase of 29.8% in the national market, in year-on-year terms, but this result “is misleading”, warns the Automobile Association of Portugal (ACAP). March 2020 had low sales and a sharp drop of 56.7% because it was the first month of the pandemic, half of which was lived in confinement. “Thus, if we compare it with March 2019, we conclude that the market actually drops 43.6% ”, emphasizes ACAP in the monthly bulletin on the evolution of the car market.

In the quarterly analysis, thes Total first quarter sales in the passenger car market fell 31.5% compared to the same period in 2020. In the total market (including light goods and heavy vehicles), the drop is 25.7%.

The second confinement, between January and March 2021, weighed on the business, just as it had happened a year ago, with the first period of greatest restrictions. January and February this year were both negative for sellers, with particular emphasis on February, which reflected the most critical period of the second confinement and resulted in the third biggest drop in sales since the pandemic was felt in Portugal.

This difference can be explained by the fact that January and February 2020 were months without effects of the pandemic, in contrast to what happens in 2021, which started and continues with several limitations in economic activity.

In the monthly analysis of the most important market, the passenger car market, in March 2021 12,699 vehicles were registered, 19.8% more than in 2020. However, they are 49% less than the 24,900 registered in March 2019.

In the smaller markets, the light and heavy goods markets, the monthly comparison is extremely positive (growth above 100% or close to it) and the comparison with the first quarter of 2020 is the only one with increasing results (increase of 6, 4% in light goods and 29.1% in heavy goods).

By brand, there were many who managed to sell more in March than a year ago, due to the “base effect” of the general break in the first confinement a year ago. Even so, there were brands that in March 2021 still sold less than in March 2020, with the notorious prominence for Renault, which has been the undisputed leader in the national market and that, in the last 30 days, saw sales drop 9, 1%, falling to fourth place on the table.

But in the quarterly analysis, only Jeep and luxury brands such as Ferrari, Maserati and Aston Martin show a positive year-on-year variation, to which the Alpine and Cupra sports cars are also growing. All the rest sold less in the quarter that has now ended compared to the first three months of 2020.

In the ranking of brands present in the passenger car market, Peugeot’s leadership position in both monthly and quarterly sales is also noteworthy. It was the brand that sold the most gasoline cars (930) in March and second in sales of 100% electric (BEV), with 110 vehicles, just behind Tesla, which led in this segment, with 162 units. Mercedes follows in second and BMW in third, Renault in fourth and Citroën in fifth. The first non-European brand in the national ranking is Toyota, in sixth place, and the second is Nissan (ninth).

By type of fuel, gasoline engines gained 3.7 percentage points of market share from February to March. In the first quarter, they represent 43% of sales.

Diesel, on the other hand, remains at a loss in passenger cars: 28.2% of new registrations at the end of February and 26.3%. Electrified products also lost market share, going from just over 31% at the end of February to around 29% at the end of March.

The pure trams, the plug-in hybrids (PHEV) conventional hybrids lost market share in March, with emphasis on the latter category, the HEVs, for which parliament changed the fiscal rules in the state budget that came into force in January.

Although it is too early to determine whether the end of certain tax exemptions or discounts for some HEV models is pushing customers towards gasoline, which is environmentally worse in terms of CO2 emissions. However, based on the data for the quarter, it is concluded that gasoline engine is the one with the highest growth.

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