The large decline in August is closer to the 24% decrease witnessed between June 2020 and June 2019.
In total, the market registered 881,897 new passenger cars last month, the lowest number recorded for August since 2016. Year-to-date figures show a similarly downbeat picture, with 7,247,341 new cars registered, down by 33% from 2019 and the lowest result over the last decade.
Felipe Munoz, global analyst at JATO Dynamics, said: "We continue to say that it is still too early to talk about recovery and the results last month indicate that there are still big issues that need to be addressed in the industry. Fortunately, the larger drop seen in August was mostly caused by business/fleet registrations, as private registrations only fell by four per cent. This is a good indicator that the situation is not as dire as it might seem."
Electric vehicles were the industry's saving grace, as consumers across Europe bought 188,700 electrified vehicles, an increase of 121% compared to August 2019. Their market share of 21.4% is a new high and underlines how severe the decline of sales would have been without EVs.
Munoz added: "The difficult environment arising from the global pandemic, has led to one positive change – now more than ever, consumers are shifting from petrol or diesel cars to lower emissions vehicles, despite their relative expense."
Source: JATO Dynamics