Europe Car Sales Slide 7.1% on Reimposed Virus Restrictions

European car sales fell last month as countries reimposed restrictions to contain the spread of Covid-19, snuffing out a short-lived recovery in demand.

New-car registrations dropped 7.1% in October, the European Automobile Manufacturers Associationsaid Wednesday. Aside from a small gain in September, sales have been in decline all year and are down 27% through the first 10 months.

France andthe U.K. locked down late last month and in early November, shutting car showrooms and pressuring sales further. Germany has pledged5 billion euros ($5.9 billion) of support to its automakers and struggling suppliers to help weather the crisis and come out the other side making more electric vehicles.

Registrations were slightly worse than Bloomberg Intelligence’s projection for a roughly 6% decline. Sales probably will fall about 5% this quarter and finish the year down at least 25%, analyst Michael Dean wrote in areport Tuesday.

158,453 in U.S.Most new cases today

+6% Change in MSCI World Index of global stocks since Wuhan lockdown, Jan. 23

-0.​8837 Change in U.S. treasury bond yield since Wuhan lockdown, Jan. 23

4% Global GDP Tracker (annualized), Oct.

Peugeot maker PSA Group hascut production at several French factories after the nation’s lockdown forced dealerships to close and led to a collapse in orders. The lobby group La Plateforme Automobile warned earlier this month that if showrooms can’t reopen quickly, the industry faces even worse consequences than this spring.

Spain registered the biggest decline among major markets with a 21% plunge in October. Sales fell 12% forBMW AG and more than 7% for bothVolkswagen AG andDaimler AG, whileFiat Chrysler Automobiles NV andRenault SA posted small gains.

Electric vehicles have been a bright spot within the region’s malaise. BI predicts that hybrid, plug-in hybrid and battery-powered autos will exceed sales of diesel cars this quarter for the first time. Germany’s industrysupport package announced Tuesday includes making an additional 1 billion euros available for EV subsidies and extending their availability to 2025.

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