Analysis of the European car market by GlobalData unit LMC Automotive, shows that supply chain shortages continued to constrain regional sales in February. Overall West European new car sales were down in February by 5.7% at 714,743 units.

The West European annualised selling rate (SAAR) increased only slightly to 10 mn units/year in February, from 9.7 mn units/year in January. LMC said that last month’s result reflects the fact that supply constraints faced by the automotive industry remain a significant headwind to sales volumes.

West European new car market by month, seasonally adjusted annualised sales (SAAR)

In Germany, the selling rate improved slightly to 2.7 mn units/year in February, from 2.6 mn units/year previously. The UK PV selling rate increased to 1.9 mn units/year in February from January’s 1.7 mn units/year. For France, the selling rate fell to just below 1.4 mn units/year. In Spain, the selling rate remained at a disappointing level, only improving slightly to 700k units/year. Finally, in Italy, the selling rate dropped to an all-time February low of just below 1.2mn units/year.

LMC’s 2022 car market forecast for the region has also become more cautious since last month as supply bottlenecks are expected to be exacerbated from Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and the resulting sanctions. The annualised selling rate is still anticipated to improve over the course of 2022 but at a slower rate than forecast last month. Aside from the supply disruption, downward pressure is building on underlying demand through inflation and confidence, LMC says.

LMC analyst Jonathon Poskitt told Just Auto: “While a strong finish to 2021 suggested that supply shortages were easing somewhat, this poor start to 2022 shows that constraints to production are still very much present and affecting new vehicle sales.”

February car sales in Western Europe by national market

LMC forecasts that the year 2022 will see West Europe’s car sales at under 11mn units, barely up on 2021 and still way under 2019’s 14.3 mn market.