|In October 2022, new passenger car registrations continued their upward trend (+12,2%) in the European Union, with 745 855 units sold. However, this result remained nearly 290 000 units below the October 2019 pre-pandemic levels. When we look at the first nine months, car registrations in the EU fell by 9,9%, but there was a production increase of 5,8%.
All the EU region’s key markets positively contributed to last month’s growth, with three out of four of them recording double-digit gains: Germany (+16,8%), Italy (+14,6%), and Spain (+11,7%). The French market saw a more modest but still solid performance (+5,5%).
State of the auto industry
In its latest edition of the Economic and Market Report of the European car manufacturers association ACEA, attention is given to the first three quarters of 2022, providing a detailed overview of passenger car and commercial vehicle registrations, and production, both in Europe and in key markets around the world.
When we look at car registrations, we see that the global car market remains vulnerable to ongoing supply chain pressures and rising geopolitical tensions. This caused a decline in global new car sales by 2,9% from January to September this year. In the European Union, car registrations fell by 9,9% to 6,8 million units over the first nine months of 2022.
Passenger car sales in North America reached 9,5 million units, down by 13,3% compared to the same period in 2021. Cumulative sales volumes in China, on the contrary, increased by 8,2% to more than 15,3 million cars registered.
In contrast, the Japanese and South Korean car sales declined by 8,7% and 7,5%, respectively, from January to September as shortages of semiconductors and other components continued to impact production.
Passenger car production
When we look into car production, we see that, during the first three quarters of 2022, nearly 8 million cars were manufactured in the European Union, 5,8% more than during the same period in 2021. North American output increased by 11,8% during the same period, also to nearly 8 million cars.
With roughly 1,6 million units produced from January to September, South American volumes increased by 12,4% compared to the same period in 2021.
Chinese car production rebounded strongly to reach 16,4 million units from January to September (+11%). Nearly 50 million cars were manufactured globally during the first three quarters of 2022, up 9% compared to the same nine-month period in 2021. However, this was still around 5 million units below pre-pandemic levels in 2019.
When we look into the number of commercial vehicles registered in the EU, we see that 1,2 million commercial vehicles were registered in the EU from January to September 2022, a year-on-year decline of 17,6%.
During the first three quarters of 2022, EU van sales decreased by 21,2% to reach 0,9 million units. By contrast, the number of new trucks registered across the EU grew by 1,5%, with 220 066 units sold from January to September.
Looking into the production of commercial vehicles in the EU, we see that European production is expected to decrease by 1,2% to nearly 3,1 million commercial vehicles in 2022. North American production is anticipated to reach roughly 4,6 million units in 2022, or 10,5% more than in 2021.
Severely disrupted by lockdowns during the first half of 2022, the Chinese commercial vehicle output for 2022 is projected to be down by 29% to 3,9 million units. Full-year production in Japan and Korea is expected to decrease by 5,2% to 1,2 million units in 2022.
All-in-all, one can say that car sales and production are slowly catching up, mostly at a different pace in different continents, but the high figures of the pre-pandemic era aren’t in sight for the moment.
The electrification seems to be coming under steam. Still, nobody knows at this moment if the very ambitious targets of some governments will be met and if the infrastructure will follow.