Annual Report 2020

Automotive markets

The development of the global car market was also affected by the covid-19 pandemic during the year under review. Even though demand already reached its low point in the second quarter and recovered gradually thereafter, the global market nevertheless contracted substantially by around 15 % during the year as a whole. (See graphic B.05)

The Chinese market, which was the first big sales market to be affected by the pandemic, decreased slightly. However, at around 6 %, this drop was less severe than initially expected. The US light vehicle market also developed somewhat better than feared during the early stage of the pandemic. However, at around 15 %, the drop in demand was still very pronounced.

By contrast, the covid-19 pandemic had an especially severe impact on the European market. As a result, car demand decreased by more than 20 % in Europe. Of Europe’s three biggest individual markets, Germany developed best, registering a decrease of around 19 %, while the markets in France and the UK suffered even greater decreases of around 25 % and almost 30 % respectively.

The economic impact of the covid-19 pandemic also had a noticeable effect on demand for vans. In the EU30 region (European Union, United Kingdom, Norway and Switzerland), the market was significantly lower than in the previous year. The market volume for mid-size and large vans was 12 % below that of the prior year, while the decrease in the small van segment was even more severe, at more than 25 %. The US market for large vans was also substantially lower than in the prior year, declining by 19 %. The demand for large vans also decreased considerably in Brazil. In China, however, the market for mid-size vans was significantly above the level of the prior year.

The severe economic crisis caused the demand for heavy-duty trucks to decrease sharply in many of Daimler’s key sales markets. The North American market contracted by 30 %. Demand for heavy-duty trucks also dropped substantially in the EU30 region, where it decreased by around 28 %, according to latest estimates. By contrast, the decrease in Brazil was less pronounced than initially expected and amounted to some 10 %. The Japanese market also did better than expected, declining by around 7 %.

The bus markets were also affected by the covid-19 crisis. Bus demand in the EU30 region was significantly below the previous year’s level and the market also contracted considerably in Brazil.

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