Spain’s car industry struggles towards pre-Covid performance

The economic uncertainty, high inflation, and costlier energy and raw materials have impacted Spain’s automotive sector this year, Kallanish notes. The microchip shortage has affected both production and sales and, although the situation is easing, their supply will remain among the main factors for the industry’s evolution in 2023, says carmakers’ association Asociación Nacional de Fabricantes de Automóviles y Camiones (Anfac).

Production is seen recovering by 100,000-150,000 vehicles or between 4-7% on-year in 2022 to 2.2 million units.

“The improvement in recent months, with cumulative growth of 2.8% up to October, and despite the numerous production cuts in the last quarter, have made the annual outlook improve,” Anfac explains. However, the shortage of certain essential components for the manufacture of vehicles, such as cables, aluminium, nickel or palladium, which come from Ukraine and Russia, together with the increase in energy costs have affected the pace of car production at large plants during the last quarter, the association confirms.

Spanish domestic sales should reach 830,000 units in 2022, a fall of 3% on-year and 34% less when compared to pre-Covid level in 2019. Light commercial vehicles purchases are seen reaching 118,000 units in 2022, or a 22% decrease y-o-y. The slowdown is mainly explained by the fall in production and a reduction in inventories, Anfac observes.

According to the association’s forecast, the microchip crisis will continue to persist throughout 2023, but with less impact than in previous years. “We expect an unfavourable scenario next year, mainly due to the impact of the expected economic recession. Despite the difficult situation, it is estimated that domestic sales will grow above 900,000 units, still well below pre-pandemic levels.

Todor Kirkov Bulgaria