LMC Automotive European Passenger Car Sales Update (September 2021)
The West European selling rate dropped to 9.7 mn units/year in September, from 11.9 mn units/year in August. The latest monthly results are clear evidence of the major sourcing issues that are haunting global vehicle production currently, with dealerships unable to meet consumer demand. Adding to market headwinds, those vehicles that are available are generally higher priced, as OEMs look to target the production of higher margin products.
In Germany, the selling rate dropped to 2.3 mn units/year in September, from 2.8 mn units/year the previous month. The UK PV selling rate nosedived to 1.2 mn units/year, in what was the worst September for over two decades. For France, the selling rate fell to 1.6 mn units/year. The Spanish PV selling rate was the only market to mark a slight improvement on the month before, this time to 920k units/year, though this is still well below 2019’s outturn of 1.3 mn units. Finally, in Italy, the selling rate fell to 1.3 mn units/year, marking the worst result since May last year.
From the previous forecast update, the market outlook has been cut once again, reflecting the ongoing and deeper impact of the supply disruption, with tight inventory unable to absorb the impact of the disruption. We currently forecast that this year will not eclipse the desperately weak 2020 result. Our assumption is that sourcing issues will be with us throughout next year and continue to undermine the connection between positive underlying demand drivers and new vehicle sales. The downside risk of some form of virus‐related restrictions remains, though in terms of the market, this is presently being overshadowed by vehicle production bottlenecks.