Although it posted strong sales of electric vehicles, Volkswagen brand vehicle sales were down 8.1% in 2021 due mainly to the sales constraints caused by the global semiconductors shortage.

Volkswagen delivered around 4.897 million vehicles across all drive systems to customers around the world last year – down 8.1% on 2020. The company blamed the ‘lagging supply of semiconductors [which] caused limitations in production throughout the course of the year’.

Volkswagen said it expects that the ‘first half of 2022 at least will remain highly volatile and challenging owing to persistent supply bottlenecks for semiconductors’. However, the company expects to be able to stabilize production as the year goes on and lower its high backlog of orders.

“Volkswagen achieved satisfactory sales under extremely challenging conditions. The massive effects on production brought on by the semiconductor situation could not be entirely compensated for over the course of the year, however. Nonetheless, our record-breaking order backlog of 543,000 vehicles in Europe alone – thereof 95,000 IDs – shows clearly that the demand for Volkswagen vehicles continues to be very high,” said Klaus Zellmer, Board Member for Sales and Marketing at Volkswagen.

Volkswagen doubles deliveries of electric vehicles

The proportion of VW brand purely battery-powered electric vehicles (BEVs) and hybrid vehicles nearly doubled to 7.5 percent of total deliveries (2020: 4 percent). In Europe, these vehicles now account for 19.3 percent of Volkswagen’s deliveries (2020: 12.6 percent).

Volkswagen recorded a significant increase in deliveries of electric vehicles particularly in the United States, China and Germany. In the company’s home market, one in four Volkswagen vehicles was a plug-in vehicle.

VW said the electric offensive in China is on track even though the supply bottlenecks for semiconductors observed towards the end of the year also affected the electric vehicles that had previously been prioritized for production. A total of 77,100 BEVs (+437 percent) were delivered in China, including more than 70,000 from the ID. family, making Volkswagen one of the five biggest BEV providers in China. A further considerable increase is planned for 2022, VW said. Close to 17,000 BEVs were sold in the United States, almost twenty times more than in the previous year. This brought Volkswagen up to fourth place among BEV manufacturers.

ID.4 is VW’s most popular EV

Volkswagen’s most popular BEV model worldwide is the ID.4. The ID.4 was the most frequently delivered of the 263,000 BEVs with 119,650 units sold, followed by the ID.33 (around 76,000), the e-up!4 (approximately 41,500) and just under 18,000 units of the ID.6, which Volkswagen offers exclusively in the Chinese market. In Europe, the ID.4 topped the BEV charts in Sweden, Denmark, Finland and Ireland. The all-electric SUV ID.4 was also successfully rolled out in the United States with nearly 17,000 units being handed over to customers. In China, the vehicle already ranks second among all-electric SUVs.

Focus on SUVs; 40% share of sales

VW said that SUVs are the fastest-growing market segment and that it has ‘systematically geared its portfolio to this trend at an early stage. SUVs now make up more than 40 percent of all vehicle deliveries (previous year: 34.8 percent). Volkswagen generated as much as three-quarters of its sales revenue in the United States with SUVs, selling its highest number of vehicles there since 2013.

Nevertheless, VW said the Golf model held on to its top position as the best-selling car in Germany in 2021 ‘despite the strained supply situation for semiconductors’.