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The May 2022 European new car market fell by 13% with a total of 935,854 registered units taking the year to date new vehicle registrations tally to 4,482,463 units. This was the worst May result since 1985, excluding 2020 when many European economies were grappling with the worst of the pandemic.

Of the 27 European markets, only Romania, Latvia, Lithuania, Slovakia, and Ireland experienced growth in May while 15 countries posted double digit declines, including Europe’s big five (Germany, France, Spain, Italy, UK).

Volkswagen Group continued to lead the market thanks to strong performances from most of its brands, however there was a shift in the balance of power among Europe’s leading OEMs when compared with May 2021. Both the German manufacturer and Stellantis lost market share to Hyundai-Kia, the third largest OEM in Europe, when Renault and Nissan are counted as separate companies.

Last month, Hyundai-Kia accounted for 10.1% of the total market, registering close to 94,800 units, 10% more than in May 2021.

Felipe Munoz, global analyst at JATO Dynamics, said: “It’s remarkable to see Hyundai-Kia secure such an impressive result while other OEMs are stuggling to absorb the combined impact of surging inflation, the geopolitical situation in Ukraine, and an ongoing chip shortage.” This is the sixth time that the Korean manufacturer has recorded more than 10% of the monthly market share in Europe.

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By GlobalData

Electric vehicles have been a key driver of growth for Europe’s OEMs, however the segment is feeling the effects of the current crisis. EVs (BEV, PHEV, FCEV) registered 179,700 units in May, up by 3.6% on the 173,400 units registered in the same month last year. The market share for these vehicles increased from 16.2% to 19.2%, and by 11.8 share points compared with May 2020. Munoz said: “The EV boom continues, but it seems that the industry has reached a peak in terms of what it can supply in the current climate”. Pure electric cars (BEV) accounted for 56% of the total, up by 19%, offset by the 12% decrease in PHEV registrations.

The BEV market was dominated by Volkswagen Group (24.4%), Stellantis (20.5%) and Hyundai-Kia (12.1%).

Volkswagen Group, Ford, Nissan, Tesla, and Mazda did however post market share declines during the month. In contrast, volume soared by 197% for Chinese brands. Volume increased by 106% for BMW Group, and by double-digits for Stellantis, Hyundai-Kia, Renault Group, Mercedes-Benz, Geely Group, Honda, and Toyota.

The BEV market was again led by the Fiat 500, which saw an increase in registrations of 71%. While registrations fell in Italy (-27%), the two largest markets for the popular city car (France and Germany) increased by 152% and 95% respectively. The Fiat 500 was followed by another Stellantis model, the Peugeot 208, due to notably high demand in the UK (+106%) and the Netherlands (+365%). VW Group secured third place in the BEV rankings with the Volkswagen ID.4, despite a 12% decrease in volume following declines in Germany, its largest market.

Stellantis led the PHEV market with 19.2% market share, followed by Volkswagen Group with 16.5%, and BMW with 15%.

The success of the French-Italian-American manufacturer was driven by the strong performance of the Jeep Compass with its best result to date as the second most registered model in the segment, outsold only by the Ford Kuga.

In the overall model rankings across all fuel types, Stellantis occupied the top three positions. The Peugeot 208 once again led with more than 18,250 units, up by 15%. The Opel/Vauxhall Corsa secured second place, up by 16%, followed by the Fiat/Abarth 500, up by 1%. Munoz added: “Due to ongoing shortages, availability is having a significant impact on the composition of the rankings and brands that are producing more vehicles are seeing this reflected in their sales performance.” In contrast to the progress made by Stellantis, Volkswagen saw declines for the T-Roc and Golf – the fourth and fifth most registered cars in Europe last month.

The Ford Kuga entered the top 10 recording a 47% increase in registrations. Kia made progress with the new generation Sportage (+41%) taking the compact SUV to 11th position in the overall model rankings. The Toyota Yaris Cross registered 10,800 units, becoming the 6th best-selling B-SUV, while the recently introduced all-new Peugeot 308 (+128%) secured third position in the C-Segment. There were also strong performances from the Nissan Qashqai, Cupra Formentor, and Renault Arkana.