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2020 Annual Report

150 Years of Continental

2020 Annual Report

 

Development of Key Customer Sectors and Sales Regions

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The most important market segment for Continental is the global supply business for manufacturers of passenger cars and commercial vehicles, which accounted for 69% of sales in fiscal 2020.

The second-biggest market segment for Continental is the global replacement-tire business for passenger cars and commercial vehicles. Because passenger cars and light commercial vehicles weighing less than 6 metric tons make up a considerably higher share of vehicle production and the replacement-tire business, their development is particularly important to our economic success.

Continental’s biggest sales region is still Europe, which accounted for 48% of sales in the reporting year, followed by North America with 25% and Asia with 24%.

Development of new passenger-car registrations
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic and the containment measures taken by individual countries, demand for passenger cars fell sharply in all regions across the world for a period of time. Over the course of the pandemic, China was initially the hardest hit. The Chinese government had already taken comprehensive containment measures at the end of January 2020. Once these were eased, a rapid recovery in demand was seen. The German Association of the Automotive Industry (Verband der Automobilindustrie, VDA) anticipates a decline in new-car registrations in China of around 6% for 2020, according to preliminary data.

In many other countries, the containment measures taken by governments likewise led to significant slumps in demand for passenger cars in the reporting year. In the European car market (EU27, EFTA and the United Kingdom), sales volumes fell by 24% according to preliminary data from the VDA. According to the VDA, significant declines in sales volumes were also seen in Brazil (27%), the USA (15%), Japan (11%) and Russia (9%) in the reporting period. According to preliminary data, global new-car registrations fell by 14% in the year under review.

Development of production of passenger cars and light commercial vehicles
According to preliminary figures, the global production of passenger cars and light commercial vehicles weighing less than 6 metric tons was down 16% to 74.6 million units in the reporting year. This was due to lower demand for passenger cars and temporary closures of plants.

In China, production was almost halved as a result of the extensive plant closures in the first quarter of 2020. Production recovered quickly over the remainder of the year, exceeding the previous year’s figures in the second, third and fourth quarters. Despite this, China’s production of passenger cars and light commercial vehicles still suffered a year-on-year decline of 4% for 2020 as a whole.

In Europe and North America – the Continental Group’s other two core markets in addition to China – temporary plant closures in March and especially April led to an extreme drop in the production of passenger cars and light commercial vehicles. The gradual resumption of production caused monthly volumes to normalize over the remainder of the reporting year. Overall, the production of passenger cars and light commercial vehicles for 2020 decreased year-on-year by 22% in Europe and by 20% in North America.

Significant declines in production were also recorded by many other countries in the year under review, including Brazil (32%), India (23%), Japan (16%) and South Korea (11%).

Development of production of medium and heavy commercial vehicles
According to preliminary data, the decline in order intake from the previous year coupled with plant closures due to the COVID-19 pandemic led to a decline in the global production of medium and heavy commercial vehicles weighing more than 6 metric tons of 4% in 2020.

North America was particularly affected, with truck production falling by 31% according to preliminary figures. In Europe, preliminary data indicates that the production of medium and heavy commercial vehicles declined by 18%.

China recorded a year-on-year decline in volumes of 19% in the first quarter of 2020, but this was more than offset by a sharp rise in production of 47% and 72% in the second and third quarters, respectively. In the fourth quarter, production was up 16% year-on-year according to preliminary figures. Overall, China ended 2020 with production of medium and heavy commercial vehicles up 27% compared to the previous year’s figures.

Development of replacement-tire markets for passenger cars and light commercial vehicles
According to preliminary data, global sales volumes of replacement tires for passenger cars and light commercial vehicles weighing less than 6 metric tons fell by 11% in the reporting year. Following the sharp global market decline in the first and second quarters of 2020 in the wake of the measures to contain the COVID-19 pandemic, demand steadily recovered in the second half of 2020.

On the basis of preliminary data, sales volumes of replacement tires for passenger cars and light commercial vehicles fell by 12% in Europe and by 8% in North America. In China, preliminary data indicates a decline in sales volumes of replacement tires of 5%.

Development of replacement-tire markets for medium and heavy commercial vehicles
In our core markets of Europe and North America, preliminary data indicates that year-on-year demand for replacement tires for medium and heavy commercial vehicles weighing more than 6 metric tons fell by 3% and 1%, respectively, in 2020 in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Changes to vehicle production and sales volumes in the tire-replacement business in 2020 (compared to 2019)
  Vehicle production Replacement sales of tires
  of passenger cars and light commercial vehicles of medium and heavy commercial vehicles for passenger cars and light commercial vehicles for medium and heavy commercial vehicles
Europe -22% -18% -12% -3%
North America -20% -31% -8% -1%
China -4% 27% -5% n. a.
Worldwide -16% -4% -11% n. a.
Download Tabellenübersicht (MS-Excel)

Sources:
Vehicle production: IHS Inc. (Europe with Western, Central and Eastern Europe incl. Russia and Turkey).
Tire-replacement business: LMC International Ltd.
Preliminary figures and own estimates.