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January 18, 2022updated 21 Jan 2022 2:21pm

EU car sales down 22.8% in December

December’s large drop rounds off a disappointing year of European car sales disrupted by supply chain problems and the pandemic.

By David Leggett

In December 2021, passenger car registrations across the European Union declined by 22.8% to 795,295 units, marking the sixth consecutive month of decline. Most of the region’s markets faced double-digit drops, including the four major ones: Italy (-27.5%), Germany (-26.9%), Spain (-18.7%) and France (-15.1%). In fact, the only EU car markets that expanded last month were Bulgaria, Croatia, Latvia and Slovenia.

Overall in 2021, sales of new cars in the EU fell by 2.4% to 9.7 million units, despite the record low base of comparison of 2020. This fall was the result of the semiconductor shortage that negatively impacted car production throughout the year, but especially during the second half of 2021. Indeed, last year total EU car registrations were still 3.3 million units below pre-crisis sales in 2019.

Looking at the full year for the four major EU markets, only Germany posted a decline (-10.1%) in 2021. By contrast, Italy saw the highest increase (+5.5%), followed by Spain (+1.0%) and France (+0.5%) with modest growth.

If the EFTA and UK markets are added, Europe’s annual total for the year rises to 11.8 million units, 1.5% below 2020’s total. In December, the larger grouping’s sales reached 950,217 units, 21.7% below the previous year’s pace.

Manufacturer details shows the VW Group led the market (EU+EFTA+UK) with a 25% share, followed by Stellantis on 20.2%.

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