Just 9.7 million new vehicles were sold in the European Union in 2021, car manufacturers reported on Tuesday. This figure is the lowest since records began in 1990. Car sales declined for six months consecutively for the latter half of 2021 and sales in 2021 were 2.4 percent lower than in 2020 – a year paralysed by Covid. In a statement, the European Car Manufacturers’ Association (ACEA) explained: “This fall is the consequence of the shortage of semi-conductors which has slowed down automobile production throughout the year, and more particularly in the second half of the year.”
Europe’s biggest market, Germany, recorded one of the biggest declines with a fall of 10.1 percent in 2021.
The German automotive sector experienced a sustained recovery in early 2021 but a shortage of the electronic chips needed to assemble cars and logistical problems quickly caused sales to decline.
Belgium, the Netherlands and Denmark also reported sharp car sales declines.
France only sold 1.6 million cars in 2021 – a figure close to the levels sold in 1975.
However, Italy’s car sales, which were hit hard by the pandemic in 2020, have made a slight increase of 5.5 percent.
Europe’s leading car manufacturers suffered in 2021.
Sales for its number one manufacturer Volkswagen, were down 2. 4 percent from the previous year.
Skoda’s sales were also down by 9.8 percent while Audi’s were down by 3.3 percent.
However, Hyundai-Kia’s sales were up by 18.4 percent due to its range of hybrid and electric cars.
Passenger car registrations across the bloc declined by 22.8 percent in December 2021, marking the sixth consecutive month of decline.
Latvia Croatia and Slovenia were the only EU car markets that expanded last month.