You can't get much more of a "worse case scenario" in auto sales than watching numbers plunge an astounding 98%. But that's exactly what has happened with new car sales in Italy, which remains mostly on lockdown, for the first 24 days of April for this year.
Across all sales channels in Italy, there were only 2,182 registrations, down from 107,930 the year prior, according to Automotive News Europe.
The numbers out of Italy likely provide foreshadowing for what the rest of Europe's numbers will look like for the month of April. In Italy, showrooms closed during the beginning of March and those who had automobiles on order already were unable to take delivery of their new vehicles. March sales had already fallen 85%.
Dealers in Italy are going to be able to start re-opening May 4, after being shut down alongside of dealers in the UK, France and Spain. Germany has already allowed some of its showrooms to re-open.
The body that represents foreign automakers in Italy, UNRAE, reported that it expected car registrations to fall by up to 98% for the month. The Italy foreign carmakers’ association is pleading with the government to approve measures to boost car demand as soon as activities reopen, according to Bloomberg.
Estimates are for Italy to finish the month with total sales of between 2,500 and 2,600 units, compared to 175,654 in 2019. The total would have been even lower had Renault not registered 317 EVs in one day for a rental car company.
Recall, we reported that U.S. auto sales plunged to their worst numbers in a decade for March, with April numbers expected in just days. “The whole world is turned upside down right now," one U.S. auto market researcher said in late March.
"There are basically no U.S. auto sales right now," analyst Adam Jonas had commented.