The semiconductor shortage, combined with the inflationary crisis and “geopolitical situation between Russia and the Ukraine”, continued to impact the European automotive market in April, JATO Dynamics said on Thursday.
European new car registrations fell by 20% to just 821,000 units. The US market saw a similar drop of 18%, however in China, recent lockdowns resulted in a significant 48% decline.
Felipe Munoz, global analyst at JATO Dynamics, said: “It’s concerning to see European sales falling at such a rate despite the global easing of Covid-19 restrictions. The worst of the pandemic damaged sales for several months, but the chip shortage looks set to be even more sustained in its impact on the market.”
Year-to-date, new vehicle registrations dropped 13% to 3.55 million units, the second lowest result since at least 1991.
EV growth stalls
Until now, EVs (BEV and PHEV) had been a reason for optimism despite the challenging and unpredictable market conditions. But in April, these vehicles posted a 1.4% decline compared to the same month last year. Volume fell from 156,371 units in 2021 to 154,219 last month, the second year on year drop since April 2020.
While OEMs have prioritised sales of EVs (along with SUVs), supply is failing to meet the demand generated by the generous incentives available to consumers. BEV demand actually increased by 13% to 83,000 units in April, but the popularity of PHEVs fell as, in most cases, these vehicles are not eligible for the deals available for fully electric models with sales down by 15%.
For the first time last month, Stellantis led OEM BEV registrations, with 16,600 units, or 20% of the market, outpacing Volkswagen Group whose volume fell by 37% following production issues at its plants. Hyundai-Kia took 15.1% of the market, marking an increase in volume of 61%.
Year to date, Volkswagen was out in front with 18.2% of the EV market and a volume increase of 8% but this fell short of its overall market share of almost 24%. Stellantis followed in second place with 15.7%, compared to a 19.1% share in the overall market. Tesla came in at third place with a EV market share of almost 15%. This fell to 1.7% in the overall market when competitor sales across all other fuels types were factored in.
Fiat 500 best selling BEV
As Tesla registered less new cars at the beginning of each quarter, the Fiat 500 was was able take the top spot as Europe’s most registered fully electric car in April. With 5,524 units, up 69% compared to April 2021, it secured a significant lead on the Peugeot e-208 in second place. In fact, the 500 led the rankings in three out of five big markets in Europe (Germany, France, Italy), as well as Switzerland, and Luxembourg. In the year to date ranking it took third place, outsold only by the Tesla Model 3 and Model Y.
The Peugeot 208 took first place in the general rankings with 15,615 units and continued to lead in total sales year to date. Despite a drop of 15%, the French manufacturer was able to increase its lead on Volkswagen Golf which led the market in 2021.
From the top 10, only the Kia Sportage recorded an increase (+53%) thanks to the success of its latest generation. The popularity of new Nissan Qashqai also resulted in a 23% increase in registrations. The Toyota Yaris Cross continued to climb the rankings (it was the seventh best selling SUV during the month) at the expense of lower volume for the regular Yaris, down by 28%.
Other strong performers included the Peugeot 308 (+70%), the Cupra Formentor (+120%), the Renault Arkana (+459%), BMW X3 (+28%), Kia Ceed (+20%), Mercedes C-Class (+59%), the Hyundai i30 (+37%), the Kia Xceed (+41%), the Skoda Enyaq (+46%), the Honda HR-V (+575%), and the MG HS and MG ZS, up by 305% and 76% respectively.
Among the latest launches, special mention was made of the Volkswagen Taigo, the 10th best-selling B-SUV with 6,068 units; the Audi Q5 Sportback with 2,526 units and the fifth best selling premium D-SUV; the Link & Co 01 with 2,239 units and the third most popular new car in the Netherlands.