The pandemic, the shortage of semiconductors, and the continued push for electrification produced interesting facts about the global vehicle market in 2021. While the global total grew by 5% to around 82.1 million units (passenger cars, vans and light commercial vehicles included), not all countries showed positive results. The figures. And that’s still below the pre-pandemic level of 89.6 million vehicles in 2019. Let’s look at some numbers.
China remained the top market with 26.3 million vehicles, up 4% from 2020 and 6% from 2019. Production issues have not hit China as hard as others regions, due to the strong push from the central government that made electric cars more affordable. . China’s auto industry has been the big winner from the crisis that began to hit global markets two years ago.
This is not the case in the United States. Despite a small recovery in 2021 (+ 4% compared to 2020), the 15 million units sold were still far from the 17 million in 2019. Unlike China and Europe, this market has not yet benefited of increased EV sales, as the numbers indicate. In 2021, pure electric vehicles represented only 3% of the market, while they represented 11% in China and 10% in all of Europe.
But the EV boom was still not enough to offset the negative effects of the past two years, as European nations can tell. Light vehicle registrations fell by 25% between 2019 and 2021, or 4.04 million units. It’s a massive drop. Historically, the European automotive market was similar in size to the US market. However, that has changed, with the gap shrinking from 1.15 million units in 2019 to 3.2 million last year.
Italy falls out of the Top 10
The difficulties on the European primary markets explain the decline. For example, Italy, which was historically among the top 10 automotive markets in the world, came in 12th place behind Russia last year. In 2019, Italy was 9th on the market with nearly 2.1 million units, behind Brazil at 2.68 million and ahead of Canada at 1.93 million.
It’s a similar story in Germany, France, the UK and Spain, all of which are showing declines of between 22% and 31% between 2019 and 2021. Despite the difficulties, Germany, France and the UK United still rank in the top 10, with Europe’s top nation Germany in 5th place.
The emergence of electric vehicles across Europe is being spurred by various government incentives, but this does not necessarily reduce the prices of electric vehicles enough for them to be serious internal combustion alternatives. Stricter emissions regulations are also being factored into electric vehicle production, but higher prices for electric vehicles could leave many buyers clutching the bag, unable to afford a new electric car in the near future. current conditions.
South Korea, Chile and Turkey gain positions
The situation is much better in other markets such as South Korea, Chile and Turkey. In fact, South Korea has literally swapped places with Italy over the past two years, dropping from 12th to 9th place. Chile withstood the crisis better because it has no local industry; everything is imported. This is the main reason why it overtook Argentina and became the second largest market in South America. Argentina has 2.4 million more inhabitants than Chile.
Turkey moved from 25th place in 2019 to 18th last year, overtaking South Africa, the Netherlands, Saudi Arabia, Poland, Belgium and Thailand. The reason? As happened in 2020, new cars have become a sure thing to save money and protect against the sharp devaluation of local currencies.
The author of the article, Felipe Munoz, is a specialist in the automotive industry at JATO dynamics.