EU car sales expected to drop again this year; auto makers call for urgent policy action

Brussels, 7 October 2022 – With the EU car market expected to shrink by over a quarter this year compared to pre-pandemic 2019 levels, the European Automobile Manufacturers’ Association (ACEA) is calling for a policy framework that enables the market to both recover and make the shift to zero-emissions.

“To ensure a return to growth – with an even greater share of electric vehicle sales so climate targets can be met – we urgently need the right framework conditions to be put in place,” said ACEA President and CEO of BMW, Oliver Zipse, during an ACEA reception last night.

“These include greater resilience in Europe’s supply chains, an EU Critical Raw Materials Act that ensures strategic access to the raw materials needed for e-mobility, and an accelerated roll-out of charging infrastructure.”

“The last years have been marked by major events like Brexit, the coronavirus pandemic, semiconductor supply bottlenecks and the war in Ukraine, with its impact on prices and availability of energy,” Zipse continued. “All of these things underline how quickly, how profoundly and how unpredictably our world is changing. This applies not least in the geopolitical context – where there are direct consequences for our globally interconnected industry and its close-knit value chains.”

The impact of these challenges is reflected in recent EU car sales figures. Eight months into 2022, overall volumes contracted by almost 12% to reach some 6 million new cars sold. So far, the market was only constrained on the supply side as ongoing component shortages constrained production volumes. However, demand may also suffer over the coming months due to inflation and fears of recession.

With all these factors in mind, ACEA has now revised its initial forecast that the EU car market would return to growth in 2022. Instead it expects that it will shrink again this year, slipping by 1% to 9.6 million units. Compared to the 2019 pre-pandemic figures, this represents a drop of 26% in car sales in the space of just three years.

“Despite the contracting market and pressure from inflation and energy costs, the automobile industry continues to invest massively in R&D and in the skills and technologies driving the green and digital transition,” explained ACEA’s new Director General, Sigrid de Vries.

“Such a vast transformation can only be successfully achieved by an industry that remains competitive well into the future. This is also strongly dependent on the right political framework conditions,” de Vries added.

To ensure a return to growth, the auto industry calls for greater resilience in Europe’s supply chains, an EU Critical Raw Materials Act for strategic access to the raw materials for e-mobility, and an accelerated roll-out of charging infrastructure.

About ACEA

  • The European Automobile Manufacturers’ Association (ACEA) represents the 16 major Europe-based car, van, truck and bus makers: BMW Group, DAF Trucks, Daimler Truck, Ferrari, Ford of Europe, Honda Motor Europe, Hyundai Motor Europe, Iveco Group, Jaguar Land Rover, Mercedes-Benz, Renault Group, Stellantis, Toyota Motor Europe, Volkswagen Group, Volvo Cars, and Volvo Group.
  • Visit www.acea.auto for more information about ACEA, and follow us on www.twitter.com/ACEA_auto or www.linkedin.com/company/ACEA/.
  • Contact: Cara McLaughlin, Communications Director, cm@acea.auto, +32 485 88 66 47.

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About the EU automobile industry

  • 13 million Europeans work in the auto industry (directly and indirectly), accounting for 7% of all EU jobs.
  • 11.5% of EU manufacturing jobs – some 3.4 million – are in the automotive sector.
  • Motor vehicles are responsible for €374.6 billion of tax revenue for governments across key European markets.
  • The automobile industry generates a trade surplus of €79.5 billion for the EU.
  • The turnover generated by the auto industry represents more than 8% of the EU’s GDP.
  • Investing €58.8 billion in R&D annually, the automotive sector is Europe’s largest private contributor to innovation, accounting for 32% of total EU spending.
Content type Press release
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