The first analyzes pointed to a catastrophic year in car sales in Europe and, finally, there is already confirmed data that this has been the case. THAT (European Association of Automobile Manufacturers, for its acronym in English) has collected that in 2021, 9.7 million cars were sold in the European Union.
We are before the worst data since they have records. To understand it better, 2.4% fewer cars have been sold than in 2020 (239,226 fewer units), a year that was marked by the closure of factories due to the coronavirus crisis. This is due to 2021 has closed with six consecutive months of falling sales, ending with a month of December in which a decrease of 22.8% (235,526 units less) in European registrations has been registered. If, in addition, the 18 markets that compete in Europe (including Iceland, Norway, Switzerland and the United Kingdom) are added, it has gone from 15.8 million cars sold in 2019 to 11.8 million in 2021.
These data are the result of an ostensible drop in the four main markets in December: Italy (-27.5%), Germany (-26.9%), Spain (-18.7%) and France (-15.1%). Looking at the data for the whole year, only Italy (5.5%) and Spain (1%) grew among the largest markets. France barely rose 0.5% and the largest market, Germany, trailed the global fall with a decrease of 10.1%.
Semiconductors and Omicron, main culprits
But how did it get here? According to data collected last November, Germany manufactured 40% fewer cars than in 2015. And the decline in European passenger car manufacturing was already 23.3% in 2020. Although 2021 was supposed to be the year of recovery, the lack of semiconductors and other raw materials such as magnesium or the explosion of Omicron has once again stopped the production of new cars.
The best example of this slowdown is in the sales of vehicles by German groups. The Volkswagen Group sold 30.5% fewer cars last December (only Porsche managed to grow). BMW fell 22.2% and Daimler also contracted its sales by 16%. If we look at 2020 sales, the Volkswagen Group closed the year with 3.5% fewer cars sold, Daimler with a 12.6% drop and BMW barely able to grow 0.3%.
These data explain Bloomberg as a consequence of the strong restrictions that had to be imposed in Germany with the arrival of Omicron. Their data shows that in the last quarter of the year, Europe’s largest economy shrank 1%, which undoubtedly influenced the automobile sector, one of the most important in the country.
But, in addition, in the production of vehicles the scarcity caused by semiconductors flies continuously. The Renault Group, which in 2020 fell 9.5% in its sales, attributes this data to its problems in manufacturing vehicles. According to his own statements at the end of October, the manufacturer already anticipated that they would stop producing half a million cars this year. A problem that, they already anticipate, will last until mid-2022, although it will then soften.
In Anfac They already made the same calculations in November (the last month for which data is available). Then they pointed out that the shortage of microchips would extend throughout the first half of 2022 and that Spain was registering a decline in production during the last quarter similar to that of the rest of the strong countries of the European Union, with a decline of 36.1% compared to 2019. And despite everything, countries such as Germany (-46.7%) or the United Kingdom (-39 .5%) pointed to worse results than the Spanish.
Photo | Anthony Shkraba and ACEA