West European Car Sales Decline in April to 8.8 Million

Ken Zino of AutoInformed.com on West European Car Sales Decline in April

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The West European selling rate dropped to 8.8 million units/year in April, from 9.0 million units/year in March, according to the LMC Automotive consultancy.

“Supply chain bottlenecks still the key reason for the depressed level of registration statistics. The war in Ukraine, as well as lock-downs in China, will likely exacerbate supply issues, meaning vehicle sales will continue to suffer from a lack of adequate supply,” LMC said today.

“As a result, most countries in the region recorded double-digit drops in sales, including the four key markets: Spain (-30.2%), Italy (-29.7%), France (-19.5%) and Germany (-17.5%), said ACEA.* About 12.7 million Europeans work in the auto industry (directly and indirectly), or 6.6% of all EU jobs.

The UK passenger vehicle market posted a selling rate was just 1.7 million units/year in April, a slight  improvement on the Q1 2022 average of 1.6 million units/year. The French PV selling rate fell yet again in April to 1.2 million units/year, compared to 1.4 million units/year Q1 2022 average. “If it were not for the pandemic-hit couple of months of April and May 2020, the German PV selling rate would have hit a new low last month, the April 2022 result falling to just over 2.0 million units/year. Supply-side problems continue to be the key theme, only made worse because of the Ukraine crisis – the outlook for German vehicle production has, for example, darkened somewhat in recent months,” LMC said.

The Spanish passenger car market saw a month-on-month improvement in April. The selling rate rose to 787k units/year, from 574k units/year in March. LMC’s caveat – the observed rise was mostly a result of March’s particularly bad performance, due to a delivery trucker strike that aggravated problems for an already stretched supply chain. Meanwhile,

The Italian car market “posted yet another set of dismal figures for the latest month. The April selling rate slipped below 1.1 million units/year, the worst result so far this year, after a dismal 1.2 million units/year running rate average in the first quarter – only the March to May 2020 run of results saw lower selling rates than the latest one,” said LMC.

“Our forecast for 2022 has been cut since last month and now sees a year-on-year contraction for the West European market. Global supply issues show no significant signs of easing, while underlying demand prospects are eroding too. Consumer confidence in the euro-zone has nosedived in the last two months, now at a level not seen since the initial emergence of the pandemic in 2020, and households will experience a serious squeeze to real income this year. Supply issues do remain the key determinant for registrations for now, however,” said LMC.

Ken Zino of AutoInformed.com on West European Car Sales Decline in April*The European Automobile Manufacturers’ Association (ACEA) represents the 16 major Europe-based car, van, truck and bus makers: BMW Group, DAF Trucks, Daimler Truck, Ferrari, Ford of Europe, Honda Motor Europe, Hyundai Motor Europe, Iveco Group, Jaguar Land Rover, Mercedes-Benz, Renault Group, Stellantis, Toyota Motor Europe, Volkswagen Group, Volvo Cars, and Volvo Group.

The EU Automobile Industry

  • 12.7 million Europeans work in the auto industry (directly and indirectly), accounting for 6.6% of all EU jobs.
  • 11.5% of EU manufacturing jobs – some 3.5 million – are in the automotive sector.
  • Motor vehicles are responsible for €398.4 billion of tax revenue for governments across key European markets.
  • The automobile industry generates a trade surplus of €76.3 billion for the EU.
  • The turnover generated by the auto industry represents more than 8% of the EU’s GDP.
  • Investing €58.8 billion in R&D annually, the automotive sector is Europe’s largest private contributor to innovation, accounting for 32% of total EU spending.
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