Car sales across Europe plunged to their lowest level on record in October, the European Automobile Manufacturers’ Association (ACEA) said on Thursday.
Registrations of new vehicles dropped 29% to 798,693 cars, with total sales for the first ten months of 2021 a mere 2.7% higher than for the same period in 2020.
The drop comes amid lingering semiconductor supply shortages, triggered by renewed outbreaks of Covid-19 in Southeast Asia and resulting in manufacturing delays, as well as port closures. Despite the recent drawbacks, carmakers say the chip crunch is finally showing signs of easing, but it will continue to some extent well into next year.
“We’re getting by. We’re trying to deal with it. I hope we’re through the worst,” Herbert Diess, CEO of Volkswagen – the EU’s biggest car manufacturer – said at a conference in Berlin earlier this week.
Volkswagen saw a 42% decline in deliveries in October compared to the same time last year, the worst among European manufacturers, while Fiat and Peugeot producer automaker Stellantis saw a 32% drop.
Given the current figures, market researchers suggest annual European car sales for 2021 are likely to miss even last year’s pandemic-affected levels, when global sales plunged nearly 15 percent.
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