Stellantis Edges Ahead Of VW In Europe Thanks To Chips.
“The latest data makes it increasingly likely that sales in Western Europe will not eclipse the anaemic 2020 result”
Stellantis, the auto giant created by the merger of Peugeot and Fiat Chrysler, toppled long-time leader Volkswagen from the top of Western Europe’s sales league in October, although it was really a contest in trying to thwart the supply crisis caused by the chip shortage.
Stellantis, created in January and bringing together brands like Peugeot, Citroen, Opel/Vauxhall, Fiat, Jeep, Lancia, Chrysler, DS. And Alfa Romeo, managed to hold its sales decline to minus 31.9% to 155,539 in October compared with the same month last year, according to European Automobile Manufacturers Association (ACEA).
ACEA is the organisation’s French acronym.
Volkswagen and its brands including VW, Audi, Skoda, SEAT, Porsche, Bentley, Lamborghini, saw its sales slump 24.8% in the month to 147,817. That won’t help embattled VW CEO Herbert Diess, currently under pressure from the company’s union which objects to his plans to make VW more efficient.
Overall, sales in the European Union slid 30.3% to 665,001 for the 4th consecutive month of decline.
For the first 10 months of the year, sales were up 2.2% to 8.2 million, compared with the same period last year. VW maintained its healthy overall lead for the 10-month period with a share of 25.1% compared with Stellantis’s 21.3%.
On Wednesday Volkswagen Group said it wouldn’t build any electric vehicles this week at its plants in Zwickau and Dresden, Germany, because of a lack of chipsets. VW has concentrated on battery-powered cars during the chip crisis and this is the first stoppage.
This week Ford said it continues to lose production in Europe from the semiconductor shortage, with three of four car plants reporting halts or slowdowns.
Meanwhile sales predictions for 2021 are being slashed. Forecaster LMC Automotive cut its West European forecast for the 4th month in a row and now expects an overall fall of 3.6% for 2021. LMC had forecast a healthy 9.6% gain for the year as recently as July. It had a gloom outlook for the near term.
“The latest data makes it increasingly likely that sales in Western Europe will not eclipse the anaemic 2020 result. Although we expect some market growth in 2022, supply issues will continue to act as significant drag on industry volumes. Further downside risks include increasing pandemic-related restrictions and concerns over the strength of the economic recovery,” LMC said.
It predicts Western Europe sales will rise 7.8% next year.
Western Europe includes the big markets of Germany, Britain, France, Italy and Spain.
Profits for mass car makers are crumbling as sales dive, but premium manufacturers like BMW and Mercedes and Tesla were able to concentrate on selling high margin cars and SUVs. High demand meant little pressure to cut margins to encourage sales and overall profits were boosted.