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Shortages continue to plague car industry as European sales shrink

Picture: Jens Schlueter / AFP.

Picture: Jens Schlueter / AFP.

Published Jul 18, 2022


Paris - Vehicle sales in the European Union slumped by 14 percent in the first half of 2022, according to official data, as supply shortages continued to plague manufacturers.

With the lack of computer chips still hobbling production, new vehicle sales slumped to 4.6 million in the European Union, data from the European Automobile Manufacturers Association showed.

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Sales in Italy tumbled by 22.7 percent, by 16.3 percent in France, 11 percent in Germany and 10.7 percent in Spain. Sales in non-EU Britain fell by 11.9 percent.

Sales also fell by 15.4 percent in June compared to the same month last year, the eleventh consecutive monthly drop.

For the past year the motor industry has been plagued by a lack of computer chips that control many automotive systems, as chipmakers were unable to keep up with demand as the world economy rebounded from the Covid-19 pandemic.

While the situation with computer chips is improving, European car manufacturers were hit by the Russian invasion of Ukraine as a number of component manufacturers were located there.

Economic uncertainty triggered by the war, the spike in prices it has caused, and rising interest rates may hinder a recovery in sales going forward as consumers cut back on spending on big-ticket items.

Volkswagen retained its place at the top of rankings, but the German group's market share slipped from 25.8 to 24.1 percent during the first half of the year. Sales fell by 19.4 percent to 1.35 million vehicles.

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Stellantis also saw its market share fall, sliding from 21.3 to 19.4 percent as sales by the European-American carmaker plunged by 21.1 percent to 1.09 million vehicles.

Hyundai-Kia meanwhile saw its sales jump 12.6 percent to 556 369 vehicles, helping the Korean manufacturer expand its market share from 7.6 to 9.9 percent.

Renault saw its sales slide by seven percent to 522 315 vehicles. But the French group nevertheless saw its market share climb from 8.7 to 9.3 percent.

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The only manufacturer to register an increase in sales in Europe in the first half of the year was Honda, but it sold just 37 113 vehicles and held less than one percent market share.

Agence France-Presse