Mar 21, 2023
Europe Extends Car-Sales Growth Streak to Seven Months as EVs Gain
(Bloomberg) -- Auto sales in Europe increased for a seventh straight month, aided by strong growth in the UK and Spain and improving supply chains.
Registrations jumped 12% in February to 902,775 vehicles, the European Automobile Manufacturers’ Association said Tuesday. Sales of battery-electric vehicles surged 34%, expanding more than any other type of powertrain.
Shortages of semiconductors and other components are becoming less of a problem, but automakers are still contending with logistics snags, slowing economies and inflation. Order books remain full for now but carmakers are growing more pessimistic about the outlook, a survey of German manufacturers showed earlier this month.
“Supply-chain constraints have abated, though tightening consumer budgets amid inflation and rising interest rates are a risk to pricing and the auto-sales recovery,” Bloomberg Intelligence analysts Gillian Davis and Michael Dean wrote in a report Monday. They expect sales to expand at least 5% this year based on pent-up demand.
Last month’s gains were particularly pronounced in the UK and Spain, where sales expanded 26% and 19%, respectively. Registrations in Germany rose 2.8%, recovering from a decline in January.
In the UK, fleet demand is “quite OK” even as retail is heavily affected by the cost-of-living crisis, Guillaume Sicard, the UK head of Renault SA, said in an interview. Concern about higher expenses is boosting the appeal of Renault’s no-frills Dacia cars while allowing the Renault brand to focus on its most lucrative models.
The French manufacturer led gains among major European automakers with a 29% increase in February, helped by a 54% surge in Dacia deliveries.
In European Union countries, fully electric vehicles were more than 12% of registrations last month, up from 9.7% a year ago. While Tesla Inc.’s Model Y was the best-selling EV last year, Volkswagen AG and Stellantis NV are preparing to introduce several battery-powered models in the coming months.
--With assistance from Craig Trudell.
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