Closures of factories, offices and car dealerships due to the coronavirus pandemic hit the German auto market hard in April. The Federal Motor Transport Authority (KBA) has now announced that the number of new registrations fell by more than 60 percent year-on-year to around 121,000 vehicles. In the KBA’s brand list, the declines amount to up to 95 percent at Smart, and all other manufacturers also lost double digits. The only exception was Tesla, where new registrations in April 2020 were around 10 percent higher than a year ago.
Electric cars hold up better
According to KBA, 635 electric cars were newly registered in Germany by Tesla this April, which means that the total number for 2020 will rise to 3,950 vehicles; in March Tesla still had the usual quarter, although this month was already marked by corona restrictions. So far overall, however, Tesla is currently slightly behind the value of the first four months of 2019, in which the Model 3 had reached European buyers for the first time in numbers.
Nevertheless, Tesla’s exceptional position in April is striking. With only minus 20 percent at the PSA luxury subsidiary DS, a manufacturer has also lost the least registrations in Germany, which does not only offer electric cars like Tesla, but at least one (DS 3 Crossback E-Tense) and an eligible plug-in hybrid (DS 7 Crossback). This could give the impression that almost only electric cars are now for sale in the current environment. After that, it looked like it was on the British market in April: new registrations even dropped by 97 percent – and the best-selling car was the Tesla Model 3, followed by the likewise electric Jaguar I-Pace .
However, Tesla fans should not have wished for the triumphal march of electric cars – and as was misleadingly reported after some weak individual months that Tesla was no longer in demand, the current April figures are also of limited significance and full of corona. So Tesla probably had cars in Germany for the first time at the beginning of a new quarter, all of which were apparently sold in April; normally ships with new electric cars only arrive in the last month of the quarter. Currently, however, there seems to be no replenishment from the Tesla Fremont plant, the production of which is currently at a standstill. At least in May, Tesla could bring extremely low sales figures in Germany and Europe.
Waiting for new Tesla ships
The Association of the Automotive Industry (VDA) said in a statement on the German April figures that there have never been so few new registrations since reunification. In addition, the German manufacturers had almost completely stopped producing their cars – only 10,900 cars, 97 percent fewer than a year ago, rolled off the assembly line. There were also drastically fewer new orders from home and abroad. Here too, Tesla has an advantage with its online purchases via a lean website – but the electric cars still have to be produced and sent on their way.