European Car Sales Rally Expected, But Electric Performance Threatened.
“There are certainly headwinds to more robust underlying demand too, such as concerns over Omicron, or inflation putting pressure on household budgets, for example,”
Two high-profile automotive opinion formers expect car sales in most of Europe to rally strongly in 2022 but to still be way below pre-coronavirus peaks. Electric car sales are strong, but the charging network is seriously lagging and endangering the infant market.
The drag on sales from the chip shortage will lessen throughout the year.
Consultants LMC Automotive expects sales in Western Europe to rise 8.3% in 2022 to 11.47 million, although it scaled back its prediction of an 8.6% gain made a month ago. In 2019, sales reached 14.29 million.
The European Automobile Manufacturers Association, known by its French acronym ACEA , said sales in 2022 in the European Union (EU) will advance 7.9% to 10.5 million, 20% below 2019.
Western Europe includes all the big markets of Germany, Britain, France, Spain and Italy. The EU excludes Britain but includes most of the small markets of eastern Europe.
LMC said supply shortages are still hurting but should get better as the year progresses.
“As global production continues to be limited by a lack of parts, particularly microchips, supply shortages remain the number one drag to better market results, with this is expected to remain a key feature of the automotive landscape for 2022. While we expect the situation to improve as the year goes on, the 2022 (sedan and SUV) market annual result will remain well short of pre-pandemic levels,” LMC said in a statement.
ACEA said the chip shortage should stabilize by the end of the year. The sale of electric vehicles was a big plus, but the pace of sales gain was much faster than the installation of the charging network.
Electrically-chargeable cars (presumably battery-electric and plug-in hybrids) accounted for almost 1 in 5 new cars sold in the EU, according to ACEA.
“Electric car sales increased more than 10-fold between 2017 and 2021, whereas the number of public chargers in the EU grew by less than 2.5 times over the same period,” said ACEA President and BMW CEO Oliver Zipse.
Urgent action required
“If this situation is not urgently addressed by introducing ambitious targets for all EU member states, we will hit a roadblock very soon,” Zipse said.
LMC pointed out other possible roadblocks to sales in 2022 were a possible inflation surge, but unemployment is easing and the return of more normal economic activity might lead to a freeing up of sayings accumulated during the long virus lockdown.
“There are certainly headwinds to more robust underlying demand too, such as concerns over Omicron, or inflation putting pressure on household budgets, for example,” LMC said.
“However, there are reasons to assume that (auto) demand remains relatively healthy, at least for now: eurozone economic activity is returning to pre-crisis levels; unemployment continues to ease with hiring intentions remaining buoyant; there remains scope for the partial release of pent-up savings; demand for mobility on the private side continues to be evident from the dearth and higher prices of used vehicles, while those wanting to buy new continue to have to wait for supply to catch up,” according to LMC.