New car sales still in the red (Update)

The sales of new cars in Belgium and Luxembourg decreased by almost 16% in the first half of 2022 compared to 2021. June showed virtually the same tendency with a 15,3% decrease. Due to the importance of the company car market, one car out of four sold from January to June 2022 was a premium model from Audi, BMW, or Mercedes. The tendency in France and Germany and practically all over Europe is the same.

There seems to be no reverse in sales in sight for the coming months. Importer federation Febiac is once and again blaming the chip shortage and lack of other components to build a car, but one can’t go on blaming them for years.

There are indications that the record sales years of the recent past are not going to return soon. This is because cars are not only more challenging to get; they have also become seriously more expensive too, and not only the fully electric ones.

Looking at the light commercial vehicles, they’re doing even worse, at 29,5% less than last year (-24,8% in June). When we’re talking trucks, there are two tendencies: the ‘light’ ones (up to 16 tons) are regressing seriously (-33,9%, -31,5% in June), but the heavy ones (+16 tons) are doing better, with +6,9% overall, and +7% in June.

Looking into the two-wheelers, there is a double-faced market: +15,9% overall for mopeds and scooters (+29,8% in June), but also -6,1% for motorbikes (-11% in June).

Everybody premium?

When we look at the sales by brand, the same tendency of the past months (or even years) is confirmed. The market leader stays BMW (+4,9% in June, -17,4% for the first six months), followed by Volkswagen (-31,1% in June, -21,7% overall), and Peugeot (+30,9% in June, -15,6% overall).

The fourth place is occupied by Mercedes, in June and in the first six months, with -5,0 and -7,2% respectively. Fifth is Audi (-42,7% in June, -12,4% overall). When we accumulated the sales of the three premium German brands, they sold 48 905 cars in the first six months of this year. On a total of 195 387, this is… 25,0% or one-fourth of total sales for the three south Germans.

Some other remarkable figures are the progress of Toyota (6th place in June, 7th overall, +32,1% in sales) and the ninth place of Kia (+32% in June, + 16,6% overall). On the negative side, there is Opel (12th, -34,7% overall), Volvo (13th, -28,6%), Skoda (14th, -41,5%), and Hyundai (15th, -36,4%).

Looking at more exotic, smaller brands, we see remarkable climbers for the first six months, like Polestar (+110,9%), Tesla (+52,6%), DS (+43,5%), MG (+33,1%), and Cupra (+67,4%). For the latter, we have to add that the gain of Cupra is largely compensated by the loss of Seat sales (-22,3%). Noticeable: the score of +1986,1% by Lynk & Co, but they were barely on the market the first six months of last year).

The serious losers are Fiat (-51,3%) ,Mazda (-40,5%), Suzuki (-40,4%), Land Rover (-27,7%), Jeep (-34,7%), and Jaguar (-61,3%). Real luxury cars continue to be relatively successful: Porsche sold 2 072 cars in six months (+33,3%), Ferrari 90 (+ 26,8%), Alpine 82 (+95,2%), and Bentley 77 (+60,4%). Even Rolls-Royce sold 13 cars, 10 more than last year (+333,3%).

Last noticeable fact: the Chinese are (slowly but surely) coming; the absolute numbers are still small, and the percentages are impressive. We already talked about MG, selling 523 cars in six months, but there are also Allied Vehicles (+93,9%), DFSK (+129,7%), BAIC (+ 175%), and Aiways (185,7%).

France and Germany: the same tendency

In France, 171 089 cars were sold in June, 14,2% less than in June 2021, and the 13th consecutive month of regress in new car sales. François Roudier of the ‘Plateforme automobile’  has noticed that the first six months of 2022 were 34% worse than the same period in 2019 (pre-pandemic) and 16,3% less than last year.

Diesel and gasoline cars have represented 54,3% of total sales, whereas in 2021 this was still 65,3%. There are almost no winners here, but while Stellantis Group and VW Group lost 21,1% and 25,6%, the Renault Group reduced the decline to 10,8% and even noted more sales (+4,1%) in June.

In Germany, 1 237 975 cars were sold during the first six months of 2022, 11% less than the year before. In June, the regress was even more prominent: -18,1%, while the market in May was also in the red (-10,2%) compared to last year. For the first half of the year, the regress was 11%.

Europe as a whole

” In June 2022, passenger car registrations continued their downward trend in the European Union (-15,4%), as supply chain issues continue to limit vehicle output,” reads the press message of the European manufacturers association ACEA. With 886 510 units registered, this is the lowest month of June on record (in terms of volume) since 1996. All four major EU markets contributed to the fall. Italy positioned itself between Germany and France for the month of June, registering a -15%, and Spain saw a more modest decline (-7,8%).

Over the first half of 2022, new car registrations in the EU shrank by 14,0% compared to one year earlier, totaling around 4,6 million units. All of the region’s major markets recorded double-digit drops: Italy (-22.7%), France (-16.3%), Germany (-11.0%) and Spain (-10.7%).

When we look more specifically at countries, we see that Scandinavian countries are the worst sellers for the first half-year of 2022. Denmark scores -23,8%, Finland -23,3%, Norway -18,4%, and Sweden -16,7%. A happy exception is Iceland (+53,4%), but of course, we’re talking very small numbers here (9 267 cars sold against 6 041 last year).

When we look into brands, the VW Group is still the biggest in Europe, with a market share of 24,7% (-1,3%) but also a sales regress of -18,5%. Stellantis is still number two, but it had a bigger market share drop (from 23,1 to 20,8%) and sales drop (-22,5%). The top 5 is completed with Renault (10,6% market share), Hyundai Group (9,6%), and Toyota Group (7,2%). The Koreans even managed to sell 9% more cars from January to June 2022, mostly due to Kia. The steepest decline was for the JLR Group, while Land Rover sales regressed by 25,5% and Jaguar sold a whopping 42,4% less.

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