Passenger Car Registrations in EU Declined in 2022, but Rebounded in December


The European new car market ended 2022 on a high note with a 12.8% increase in registrations in December, the fifth straight monthly gain. The major markets of Germany and Italy saw robust double-digit growth of 38.1% and 21% respectively in December. However, Spain declined 14.1% while France was nearly flat at -0.1% for the month.

For full-year 2022, new passenger vehicle registrations in the EU contracted 4.6% versus 2021, weighed down by parts shortages early in the year. The 2022 volume of 9.3 million units was the lowest level since 1993. Of the top 4 markets, only Germany managed growth for the year with a 1.1% gain. Italy saw the largest drop at -9.7%, followed by France at -7.8% and Spain at -5.4%.

The December rebound was unable to fully offset the production-constrained first half. But the recovery from August through year-end provides optimism for 2023, provided macroeconomic and geopolitical instability do not impede progress. Market recovery remains uneven across countries.

Brands with lower dependence on imports recovered more strongly as shortages eased. Domestic champion Fiat was the December winner, up 41.6%. Renault, Mercedes-Benz, BMW and Toyota rounded out the top 5. Lower-volume luxury brands like Porsche and Audi saw huge leaps.

While zero-emission BEVs gained share, the overall market decline meant volumes were still below 2021. BEVs accounted for 12.8% of registrations in December and 10.6% for the full year. The trend toward electrification continues rising unevenly by market. Industry watchers expect further recovery in 2023 barring new crises.

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