Car registrations fall 11% in May due to the microchip crisis and economic uncertainty | Economy

A man walks past a used car dealership.
A man walks past a used car dealership.Paul Monge

Registrations of passenger cars and SUVs contracted by 10.9% in May compared to the same month of the previous year, with a total of 84,977 units. The market continues to register figures lower than 2021, marked mainly by the microchip crisis and the economic context, although the recovery of sales to the market by individuals and companies stands out in this last month. In the accumulated of the year, the decrease has been 11.5% with respect to the first five months of last year, with 318,487 units.

However, both sales to individuals and companies managed to improve on the figures for the previous year, registering growth of 4.3% and 3.3%, respectively. In the last month, the private channel reached 34,666 units registered, while the company channel added a total of 32,076, breaking the downward trend of the last two months. In contrast, is the rental channel, which continues to record negative figures with a sharp drop of 41.4%.

The average CO₂ emissions of cars sold in May remain at 122 grams per kilometer traveled, 2.9% lower than the average emissions of new cars sold in May 2021.

“The downward trend of the market in recent months continues. This shows the delicate situation that the automotive sector is going through, due to the greatest extent to the microchip crisis that does not allow manufacturing at the pace set by demand. In any case, although the market is shrinking, caused by the sharp drop in rent-a-car, both sales to individuals and companies closed the month positively”, said Aránzazu Mur, director of the economy and logistics area of ​​the Spanish Association of Automobile and Truck Manufacturers (Anfac). “We will have to wait for the evolution in the coming months to determine if it is a one-off situation or a first sign of recovery in demand,” she added.

The largest monthly fall has been in the registrations of light commercial vehicles, with a reduction of 32.7% in May for a total of 10,914 units. In the accumulated figure, 46,369 units have been reached, which represents a decrease of 36.1% compared to the first five months of 2021. As for sales by channels, all of them register significant falls.

Better was the behavior of industrial vehicles, buses, coaches and microbuses. The registrations of these vehicles fell by 1.7% in May, to 1,930 units. In this group, both light vehicles -between 3.5 and 6 tons- and buses achieved growth of 34.2% and 44.4%, respectively.

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Raúl Morales, communication director of the Faconauto dealer association, has indicated that last month there has been a slight improvement in orders from dealers, but has added that sales are still 30% below the units that were marketed before the pandemic. “The current situation of registrations leads us to a market that is going to be closer to 800,000 than 900,000 units, far from what our country’s economy needs and what the sector requires, taking into account the investments that both manufacturers and dealers are making to accelerate towards the decarbonization of mobility”.

Tania Puche, director of communication for Ganvam (National Association of Motor Vehicle, Repair and Spare Parts Sellers), has pointed out that the chip crisis continues to hit the sector. “Although May has registered the best number of registrations this year, we are still around 30% below pre-pandemic levels, which means that we still have a monthly volume far from the 100,000 units that correspond to our market”, has underlined. “Although individuals are gradually beginning to receive the deliveries that they had pending for more than six months, there are still not enough vehicles to meet the demand of companies dedicated to car rental, which will weigh down this year, placing it for the third year in a row in the environment of 850,000 units”.

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