For European automakers in 2020, a year ruined by the covid-19 pandemic, sales of luxury cars in China and electric vehicles in Europe were the two highlights.
China’s auto industry quickly recovered from quarantines to address the covid-19 outbreak, while in Europe, manufacturers’ battle to meet tough new emissions targets helped electric vehicles (EVs) emerge. of a marginal position.
Volkswagen, the world’s largest automaker, reported a drop in sales of its main VW brand of just over 15 percent compared to 2019.
While sales in China for the VW brand fell nearly 10 percent, Volkswagen’s Audi luxury brand had its best fourth quarter and full-year sales in China were up 5.4 percent.
The VW brand also saw global all-electric car sales rise 197 percent from 2019 to 134,000, though that only accounted for 2.5 percent of the total.
“2020 was a turning point for Volkswagen and marked a breakthrough in electric mobility,” said Ralf Brandstatter, VW Brand Director.
Rival BMW posted a 3.2 percent sales increase in the fourth quarter and closed 2020 down 8.4 percent. But the automaker, which also owns the Mini and Rolls-Royce brands, said sales rose 7.4 percent in China, its best performance since entering that market in 1994.
Meanwhile, Daimler’s Mercedes-Benz brand, which reported numbers on Friday, remained the world’s best-selling luxury carmaker for the fourth year in a row. While global sales fell 7.5 percent, premium brand sales in China were up 11.7 percent, including a 22 percent increase in the fourth quarter.
The race now is to develop electric vehicles to meet carbon emissions targets and challenge market leaders like Tesla.
Major automakers need to produce a large number of electric vehicles to achieve economies of scale and make them profitable, and 2020 gave some hope that they may be on track to do so.
Electric vehicles were the only good news in an otherwise bleak 2020 for France’s Renault.
While the Renault group’s sales fell more than 21 percent, its sales of electric vehicles in Europe increased more than 101 percent. The company confirmed that it had met its EU emissions targets for 2020, thus avoiding fines.
BMW said global EV sales were up 31.8 percent compared to 2019 and accounted for 15 percent of sales in Europe, “which means that electric mobility is also a significant growth engine for the company in terms of absolute “.