What kinds of trends were you seeing in the industry as the shutdowns started?
Felipe Munoz: “Those were shocking times. We started to see this impact in March, when we started to get the [car] sales information from China. In February, sales in China dropped by 78% [year on year] to just 200,000 units.
“Because 80% of the automotive supply chain is connected to China, whatever happens there is going to have a massive impact everywhere. But then in April, we confirmed this was going to be massive.
“April was the worst, because it was when the apocalypse hit. In India, for example, it was zero vehicles [sold]. It was a massive thing; we had never seen these drops.
“In the end, though, the global volume was down by 13%, which wasn’t as bad as we had thought.”
Are people keener to buy from stock or wait for new cars?
SR: “I don’t know if there’s a trend, but there is a pent-up demand now that showrooms are open again. I think a lot of dealers were on the ball with online sales, and that has been sped up in many cases. People were more attuned to buying online during the later lockdowns.”
WB: “There’s no such thing as a single customer: some want to be part of a process to commission a car, whereas others might want to walk into a showroom and drive out that afternoon. One interesting fact is that our global stock levels are at a historic low.”
Who have been the biggest winners, and who appears to be on the front foot from the data that Jato is seeing?
FM: “The biggest winners are the Chinese OEMs. In China, the market didn’t fall that much, so they continued launching these cars but thinking globally; the next step of their revolution will be global expansion. They want to get to Europe and the US.
“The other winners were those who focused a lot on EVs. Last year, the [sales] volume increased by 39%, which is massive considering the [pandemic] problems. EVs finally took off in 2020, the worst year for the car industry.”