If there is any consolation, then it is that the Serbian car market in the past, the first year of the COVID-19 pandemic, was more vital than many in the European Union, and even in the immediate surroundings.

For illustration, according to data from ACEA - the European Automobile Manufacturers Association, more significant declines in new registrations were recorded by economically incomparable countries such as Portugal (-35%), Spain (-32.3%), Italy (-27.9%)... Importers and sellers of new cars in our immediate vicinity faced even more significant declines: according to ACEA data, in Croatia, the number of newly registered cars in 2020 was lower by a staggering 42.8% compared to 2019 (last year's unfortunate record in the EU!), while in Bulgaria, the second-worst performer, the decline was 36.8%.

The proverbially reliable ACEA statistics state that in 2020, in 26 EU member states (excluding Malta), 9,942,509 new cars were registered for the first time (2019 - 13,028,948). If we include the UK (which is no longer part of the large "family") and three EFTA economic group members (Iceland, Norway, and Switzerland) with the EU, we get to 11,961,182 newly registered cars in 2020, or 15,805,658 in 2019. Germany had the most newly registered cars in 2020, as in many previous years - 2,917,678, and Iceland had the least - 9,369.

Apart from Iceland, Serbia was ahead of Cyprus (10,061), Latvia (13,864), and Estonia (18,750) in terms of new car registrations last year - in all other EU countries, more new cars were registered than in Serbia.
For a more complete picture of Serbia's place in the European car "market," data from several neighboring countries is interesting: for example, in Bosnia and Herzegovina, 6,738 new cars were registered for the first time last year (-31.7%), while for the Republic of North Macedonia, statistics from the local customs service show the number of imported cars, and there were 5,172 vehicles with such status in 2020 (18.44% less than in 2019).

Data on registrations, sales, or imports of new cars for Albania, Moldova, Ukraine, and Belarus are not currently available. In the Russian Federation, which is considered both a European and an Asian country, 1,486,500 cars (including the pick-up vehicle category) were registered for the first time in 2020, a decrease of about 8.9% compared to 2019.

Photo: VW

Belgrade, March 5, 2021.

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