New-car sales in Europe's five biggest markets fell by more than a quarter last month after lockdowns to combat the pandemic shuttered dealerships and consumers shied away from large purchases.
Registrations fell 28 percent in Germany, the UK, France, Italy, and Spain in January from the year-earlier period, according to Bloomberg Intelligence analyst Michael Dean.
With lockdowns still in effect in several countries and automakers grappling with a shortage of semiconductors, Dean said he sees February sales dropping 10 percent.
"The European auto-sales outlook for the first half remains uncertain," Dean said in a note, adding that expectations for a near-doubling in operating profit across the region's automakers this year look increasingly doubtful.
The drop last month follows a much smaller decline in December, when automakers pushed sales of battery-powered vehicles to meet more stringent emissions targets for 2020.