The COVID-19 or coronavirus pandemic nightmare started back in December 2019 in Wuhan, China. Three months later, nearly 1.5 million people have been infected and more than 80,000 human beings have died. The figures are terrible from health, social and economic points of view. The good news is that most of the countries and governments are doing their best to stop the coronavirus, such as long rigorous lockdowns to prevent further infections.

In this article, we are focusing on how the coronavirus is affecting the global automobile industry. Already at the beginning of this year 2020, most of the manufacturers started to struggle to keep the normal level of production capacity. Let us not forget that many parts used at the assembly lines come from China, where all of this started out.

First of all, the production has slowed down and, even completely interrupted to protect employees and due to the unavailability of parts, besides the drastic reduction in demand. Secondly, the showrooms – as most of the worldwide social events – have been canceled to avoid more spreads of the virus. No demand, no parts, no production, no events, no sales.

Many countries have used their common sense and declared a state of emergency. Let us now focus on Spain, the Europen leader in commercial vehicle production. In Spain, due to the declaration of the state of emergency last March 13th, the Tourism and Automobile sectors have experienced an unprecedented reduction in activity, with the subsequent temporary employment regulation records.


The Automobile Manufacturers Association of Spain (ANFAC) announced that passenger car registrations of 37,644 units in March 2020 represented a decrease of 69.3% compared to previous March 2019 due to coronavirus.

The following chart shows the car registrations in Spain in March 2020, compared to the same month in 2019. No surprises. The coronavirus has meant a huge economic impact in the industry which contributes to 10% of GDP in Spain.

coronavirus car registrations in Spain

Own elaboration from data provided by ANFAC

Passenger car sales of 218,705 units in the first three months of the year represented a 31.0% decrease from the same period in 2019.

SEAT sales decreased 45.5% to 4,917 units, Toyota sales decreased 48.3% to 3,152 units, Volkswagen brand sales decreased 67.6% to 2,790 units, Renault sales decreased 73.0% to 2,761 units, and Hyundai sales decreased 46.8% to 2,467 units in March 2020.

It turns out to be curious that there is only one brand with a positive increase (18 units, +1,800%) in comparison to 2019. These results are coming from the new “made in Italy” brand, called dr automobiles, born in 2006 and with a broad range of attractive city and sports cars.

In terms of popularity, the best-selling cars in March, were the SEAT Leon, Nissan Qashqai, SEAT Arona, Toyota Corolla, and SEAT Ibiza. We can also observe the same trend as in the previous year since the gasoline vehicles represented a 55.2% of market share, diesel vehicles had a 24.8% share and other vehicles (hybrid, full electric, LPG, etc.) had a 20.0% share.

No lies. The demand has fallen drastically and normality will not come back until we have all together stabilized the situation from a health and social point of view. Unfortunately, a lot of job destruction will happen in the Automobile industry and this will have a huge impact in our lives in the next months. Or years.

Source: Data announced by ANFAC. Featured image from


Juan Carlos Hoyos Saez Administrator
Passionate about Cars, Driving and Business. My objective is to inspire more and more car lovers. Racing, Kickboxing, traveling, and healthy life. Sub-project leader as a Material Cost/Project Controller, Daimler Trucks Asia (Tokyo, Japan).
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