(Bloomberg) -- Car sales in Europe slumped to a record low for January as coronavirus lockdowns again shook the continent’s biggest markets.
New-vehicle registrations plunged 26% to 842,835, the European Automobile Manufacturers’ Association said Wednesday, cutting short a reprieve of smaller declines toward the end of last year. Spain led the drops among major markets with a 52% fall, while sales in Germany fell by almost a third.
Shuttered showrooms and hesitant consumers are plaguing automakers which also are fighting production outages due to a worldwide shortage of semiconductors. Many manufacturers’ earnings are being rescued by resurgent demand from China, with Volkswagen AG and BMW AG among those posting better-than-expected preliminary earnings.
“The European auto-sales outlook for the first half remains uncertain,” Bloomberg Intelligence analyst Michael Dean said in a note Tuesday. Expectations for a near-doubling in operating profit across the region’s carmakers this year are increasingly doubtful, he said.
Among the continent’s biggest carmakers, sales for VW fell 28% while Renault SA’s were down 23%. Luxury automakers fared better, with registrations dropping 18% for Daimler AG and 17% for BMW.
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