EU car sales bounce back past 1M in March

PARIS (AFP) – The European car market bounced back to top one million monthly sales in March after a weak start to the year, an industry survey showed yesterday.

Sales of new vehicles leapt 87.3 per cent year-on-year, boosted by the “exceptionally low base of comparison” with March 2020, when the first lockdown measures to fight the coronavirus pandemic began to bite, the European Automobile Manufacturers’ Association
(ACEA) said.

March’s 1,062,446 sales fell short of records booked in 2017-18, landing closer to the lean years of 2013-14. Over the first three months of 2021, the Italian and French markets gained 28.7 and 21.1 per cent compared with last year, while the German and Spanish markets were lower by 6.4 and 14.9 per cent.

German behemoth Volkswagen remained Europe’s largest carmaker with 650,000 sales in the first quarter, while Stellantis – born of the merger between Peugeot-Citroen and Fiat-Chrysler – was close behind at 605,000.