Europe’s major car markets continue to shrink: EY study

The European market for new cars in October shrank by 30 percent year-on-year, and was even down 35 percent compared to pre-crisis levels of October 2019, according to a study published by consulting firm Ernst & Young (EY) on Thursday.

“All major markets were down by double digits in October,” the study found, with a decline of 36 percent in Italy and 35 percent respectively in Germany and Belgium. For current year, sales in Europe were just above last year’s level but still 31 percent below 2019 levels.

“The crisis in the new car market is widening,” said Peter Fuss, partner at EY. Car sales in Europe were likely not to reach last year’s levels. “We are thus far below pre-crisis levels, and a turnaround is not in sight for the time being.”

The global chip shortage would continue to lead to “significant losses” until the middle of next year, said Fuss, stressing that by then, “several million more cars will not have been built and sold — with corresponding financial consequences for car dealers, manufacturers and suppliers.”

Although supply issues also slowed the growth of electrified new cars, sales of new electric cars in the five largest markets in Western Europe, Germany, the United Kingdom, France, Italy and Spain, were up 52 percent year-on-year in October, according to the study.

Germany continued to show the highest market share of new electrified cars at 30.4 percent in October, followed by the United Kingdom with 23.1 percent, the study found. In Spain, by contrast, only 11.1 percent of new cars were plug-in hybrids or electric cars.

The German government target is to have between seven and ten million electric vehicles registered in the country by 2030, promoting the purchase of purely electric vehicles with a premium of up to 9,000 euros (around 10,200 U.S. dollars). (1 euro = 1.13 U.S. dollars)