New car registrations fell by more than 20 percent in the European Union in April in what was one of the worst months since the peak of the Covid-19 pandemic in 2020.
Data from the European Automobile Manufacturers’ Association (ACEA) shows that 684,506 new vehicles were sold in the European Union last month, compared to 862,443 sold in April 2021. When European Free Trade Association (EFTA) sales such as Including Iceland, Norway, and Switzerland, plus adding the United Kingdom to the mix, total sales peaked at 830,447 through April. That was a 20.2 percent drop from 1,040,027 vehicles sold in the region in the same month last year.
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From January to April, 2,930,366 new vehicles were sold across the EU. That is also a sharp drop of 14.4 percent compared to the 3,422,714 registrations in the first four months of 2022.
Some car manufacturers have been hit harder than others across Europe. Sales of Stellantis models, for example, fell 32.1 percent from 202,306 units to 137,455 last month. Similarly, the Volkswagen group suffered a 27.1 percent drop in sales from 230,038 to 167,786.
Elsewhere, the Renault Group reported an 18.2 percent drop in sales, Toyota a 3.6 percent drop, BMW Group a 20 percent drop and Mercedes-Benz a 21.2 percent drop from 53,088 to 41,841. Ford also reported an 18.1 percent drop in sales for April, while Volvo reported a 20.7 percent drop and Mazda a massive 32 percent drop.
However, there were some automakers who managed to increase sales in April. Perhaps most notable was the Hyundai Group, with sales up 10.8 percent from 65,073 to 72,095. Kia reported a 14.7 percent increase, while Hyundai itself recorded a 6.5 percent increase in sales. Similarly, Mitsubishi and Honda reported sales increases of 11.9 percent and 33 percent respectively, but with only 5,629 Mitsubishi models sold and 4,077 Honda models, they remain relatively small players.
Supply chain problems and inflationary pressures are the main factors behind shrinking new car registration numbers across Europe. Forecasters from LMC Automotive have lowered estimates for sales of Western European passenger cars this year to less than 10 million units.
“The global supply issues show no significant signs of easing, while the underlying demand outlook is also declining,” LMC recently wrote. “Households will face serious pressures on real income this year. Supply issues will remain the main determinant of registrations for the time being.”