Automotive: European sales at their lowest in February

Posted 17 March, 2022

The start of 2022 continues to be a disaster for new car sales in Europe, with automakers still heavily disrupted by supply issues, according to figures they released on Thursday.

With 719,465 copies sold in the European Union (EU), manufacturers had their worst month of February since the start of the statistical series in 1990. Sales fell by 6.7% compared to the already very weak figure for February 2021, said the Association of European Automobile Manufacturers (ACEA).

Among the main markets, France and Italy recorded double-digit declines (-13% and -22.6%), as did Belgium and Poland (-11.9% and -11.2%), while Germany and Spain rebounded slightly over one year (+3.2% and +6.6%).

Close to the EU, the British market continued its recovery after months of decline with +15%.

Torpedoed in 2020 by the Covid-19 pandemic, the automotive market has remained paralyzed in Europe and America since the spring of 2021 by a shortage of semiconductors. These electronic chips, mainly made in Asia, are essential for the manufacture of telephones and laptops, but also cars which increasingly incorporate more technologies.

The ACEA predicted a rebound in auto sales in the second half of 2022 with a stabilization of the supply of chips, but the war in Ukraine could dampen this optimism from March.

As for automotive groups, Volkswagen recorded in February an 11.5% drop in sales over one year, in particular on its main brand and at Skoda.

Its runner-up Stellantis is even more affected (-19.5%), with poor performance for its Peugeot and Fiat brands, in particular.

The Renault group fell by 4%, with -13.6% for its main brand but still good sales at Dacia.

Hyundai-Kia (+21.3%) and Toyota (+3.1%) continue to weather the crisis more calmly, gaining market share. BMW stabilized at -1.5%, and Mercedes at +1.1%.

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