European car market drops further in 2021

Car sales in Europe fell 2.4% year-on-year to 9.7 million units in 2021, worsening the already weak performance registered in 2020. Final production data on the continent are yet to be released, but all indicators point towards full-year production figures being in line with 2020.

The second half of 2021 was particularly negative for car sales and December figures marked the sixth consecutive monthly decline compared with 2020. “This fall was the result of the semiconductor shortage that negatively impacted car production throughout the year. Indeed, last year total EU car registrations were still 3.3 million units below pre-crisis sales in 2019,” European car manufacturers association ACEA says in a note seen by Kallanish.

Germany, the largest market in Europe, saw registrations falling 10.1% y-o-y. Italy, by contrast, saw the highest increase of 5.5%, followed by Spain (1%) and France (0.5%).

According to the latest data published by OICA, the global carmakers association, during the first nine months of 2021 European vehicle production was up 5% y-o-y to 11.8 million units. This figure was nevertheless down 25% compared with 2019.

It is understood that activity at European carmaking facilities was particularly hit during the fourth quarter of 2021. For this reason, the overall 2021 production figure could well fall in line with or drop below 2020 output.

Emanuele Norsa Italy