New car sales fall by more than 20% in the EU, but some automakers have come out on top

New car registrations fell by more than 20% across 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) reveals that 684,506 new vehicles were sold in the European Union last month, compared to 862,443 units sold in April 2021. Including the Association’s sales Free Trade Union (EFTA) countries like Iceland, Norway, and Switzerland, plus the UK in the mix, total sales peaked at 830,447 through April. This is a decrease of 20.2% compared to the 1,040,027 vehicles sold during the same month last year in the region.

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From January to April, 2,930,366 new vehicles were sold in the EU. This also represents a significant drop of 14.4% from the 3,422,714 registrations recorded in the first four months of 2022.

Some automakers have been hit harder than others in Europe. For example, sales of Stellantis models fell 32.1% last month, from 202,306 units to 137,455. Similarly, the Volkswagen Group suffered a 27.1% drop in sales, from 230 038 to 167786.

Elsewhere, the Renault group recorded an 18.2% drop in sales, Toyota a 3.6% drop, BMW Group a 20% drop and Mercedes-Benz a 21.2% drop from 53,088 to 41,841. Ford also reported an 18.1% drop in April sales, while Volvo reported a 20.7% drop and Mazda a whopping 32% drop.

The winners

However, some automakers managed to boost sales in April. Perhaps most notable is the Hyundai Group, whose sales increased by 10.8% from 65,073 to 72,095. Kia reported a 14.7% increase while Hyundai itself recorded an increase 6.5% of its sales. Similarly, Mitsubishi and Honda recorded sales increases of 11.9% and 33% respectively, but with only 5,629 Mitsubishi models and 4,077 Honda models sold, they remain relatively small players.

Supply chain issues and inflationary pressures are the main factors behind the drop in new car registrations across Europe. LMC Automotive forecasters have cut estimates for passenger car sales in Western Europe this year to less than 10 million units.

“Global supply issues show no significant signs of easing, while the underlying demand outlook is also eroding,” LMC wrote recently. “Households will experience a serious squeeze in real income this year. Supply problems remain the main determinant of registrations for the moment.