Economic and Market Report: state of the EU auto industry – First three quarters of 2021

The latest edition of ACEA’s Economic and Market Report covers the first three quarters of 2021, providing a detailed overview of passenger car and commercial vehicle registrations, production and trade, both in Europe and in key markets around the world.

The 26-page Economic and Market Report contains a wealth of information and can be downloaded for free by clicking here.

Key takeaways

EU economic outlook

  1. GDP growth in the EU is projected to be 5.0% in 2021, with consumer spending fuelled by excess savings accumulated during the lockdown period.
  2. EU unemployment is expected to decrease from 7.1% this year to 6.5% in 2023.
  3. After staying low for years, inflation in the European Union is set to remain above 2% this year and next, largely due to the strong effect of higher oil prices.

Passenger car registrations

  1. In Europe, passenger car registrations went up by 8.0% to 11 million units during the first nine months of the year.
  2. Through the first three quarters of 2021, demand in North America was mainly driven by the 16.3% increase in US car sales.
  3. The Chinese car market totalled 13.9 million units (+5.4%) from January to September 2021, with recovery momentum weakening later in the year.
  4. South Korean car sales decreased by 8.2% during this nine-month period.

Passenger car production

  1. EU car output increased by only 3.1% in the first nine months of the year to reach 7.6 million cars built, which is still 3 million units less than 2019 pre-crisis volumes.
  2. US auto plants manufactured approximately 4.8 million passenger cars from January to September, or 10.8% more than during the same period in 2020.
  3. In the first nine months of 2021, Brazil posted strong growth with car production up 16.2% to reach more than 1.2 million units.
  4. Chinese car production in January-September this year totalled 14 million units, up 10.2% compared to the year before.
  5. Global car output increased by 8.9% to 45.6 million units between January and September.

Exports and imports of passenger cars

  1. Eight months into the year, EU car exports represented a total value of €80 billion, up 16.4% compared to the same period in 2020.
  2. Imports of cars amounted to €34 billion, resulting in a trade surplus of almost €50 billion for the European Union this year to date.
  3. The United States maintained its leading position as the main country of origin of EU car imports with a 17.6% value market share.

Commercial vehicle registrations

  1. 1,436,934 commercial vehicles were registered in the EU during the nine-month period, a year-on-year gain of 19.1%.
  2. Over the first three quarters of 2021, EU van sales increased by 18.7% to reach nearly 1.2 million units.
  3. From January to September, 217,000 new trucks were sold across the European Union, up 23.4% compared to the same period in 2020.

Commercial vehicle production

  1. Despite ongoing supply chain constraints, commercial vehicle production in Europe is set to expand 7% in 2021.
  2. North American output is expected to total 4.2 million commercial vehicles, up 9.7% compared to 2020.
  3. In Japan and South Korea, full-year production is expected to drop by 4.8% to 1.3 million units.
  4. Chinese commercial vehicle output will weaken in 2021, falling by 12.6% to reach 5.2 million units.

Exports and imports of commercial vehicles

  1. Between January and August 2021, the total value of EU commercial vehicle exports strongly increased (+14.3%), generating a trade surplus of more than €3.6 billion.
  2. The value of US-built commercial vehicles exported to the European Union declined by 15.4% during the eight-month period.

Should you have any questions about this Economic and Market Report, please don’t hesitate to contact the ACEA statistics department.

EU car output increased by only 3.1% in the first nine months of 2021 to reach 7.6 million cars built, which is still 3 million units less than 2019 pre-crisis volumes.

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Reproduction of (parts of) this information or related documents is not permitted without the prior written consent of ACEA. Whenever reproduction is permitted, ACEA shall be referred to as source of the information.

Disclaimer

This information was presumed to be correct at the time of publication. However, ACEA is not responsible for any inconsistencies or errors in the data.

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