According to Jürgen Pieper, Director of Research and Senior Advisor at Metzler Capital Markets, "The German auto industry suffered an unprecedented slump in the second quarter of 2020 because of Covid-19." In some key regions of the world, such as southern Europe, new car sales more than halved compared to the same quarter last year. Nearly all car manufacturers and suppliers suffered losses. However, the industry is recovering, albeit at different speeds depending on the region. In China, sales figures are already higher than they were in January, i.e. before the corona economic slump. In Europe and the USA, however, recovery is slower, but Pieper estimates the year-on-year decline in sales to have been only around 5% in July. Although government incentives may have contributed to recovery, they have not been the decisive factor, especially in Germany where the purchasing incentive is neither high enough nor sufficiently far-reaching.
Interestingly, there has been a clear trend towards electromobility during the pandemic. "Government subsidies have contributed to this, but the real key has been a shift in consumer behavior," says Pieper. "Apparently, car buyers have become more sensitive during the corona crisis to ‘soft’ issues like health and environmental protection.” In Germany, the shift towards electromobility has been particularly striking. In July, the market share of electric and hybrid vehicles in new car purchases in Germany was 22%. This represents an increase of well over 100% compared to the same month last year. For the future success of German OEMs and suppliers, one crucial factor is likely to be the extent to which the company is positioned for future technologies.
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