European auto sales hit three-decade low in 2022: report

New vehicle registrations in Europe dropped to their lowest level since 1993 last year as component shortages continued to hinder automakers, an industry group reported Wednesday.

Despite an uptick in sales since August, the overall number of EU registrations fell 4.6 percent to 9.3 million, a level last seen three decades ago, the European Automobile Manufacturers’ Association said.

It marks a third difficult year for the industry since the factory and showroom closures during the Covid-19 outbreak in 2021 and the resulting supply bottlenecks — not least for key semiconductors — that persisted even as the pandemic eased.

Germany was the only major European market that saw growth last year, at 1.1 percent, while Italy registrations plunged 9.7 percent, France 7.8 percent and Spain 5.4 percent.

But the auto association, known by its French abbreviation ACEA, said sales had picked up in most countries during the final months of the year, with December registrations up 12.8 percent overall from the year earlier.

For the year, Volkswagen remained the European market leader with 2.3 million vehicles sold, a 5.2 percent decline, for a stable market share of 25.1 percent.

The Stellantis group followed with 1.8 million vehicles, a 14.1 percent drop, while Renault sales slid 4.3 percent to 985,000.

The German auto industry association said last week that it expected only a mild recovery for the domestic car market this year, even as supply chain bottlenecks are expected to ease. — Agence France-Presse

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