VW Dominates Euro Sales But Rivals Are In Pursuit

Mon 7th Feb 2022

Few could have predicted that 2021 would have been worse than 2020 for the motor industry, but in terms of volume of car sales, that’s exactly how things played out.

Clearly the pandemic has had a huge impact on the sector in the past two years, but while factory lockdowns and a lack of consumer confidence was the problem in 2020, it was semiconductor shortages and supply chain issues in general which have had an even more significant impact. 

According to data from JATO Dynamics for the 28 different markets in Europe, sales were down by 1.7% on the previous, the lowest volume since 1985. 

However, some brands took the crisis as an opportunity, and there were some clear winners in 2021. Volkswagen continued their dominance of the overall market, despite facing both production challenges and increasing competition from internal markets. The Golf was the best selling car, with 205,408 new registrations across Europe - but that was a 28 per cent drop in volume on the previous year, and a 50 per cent drop on 2019. And competition from elsewhere promises to knock the Golf from a perch it has occupied since 2008.

Small and compact SUVs are the biggest threat to the Golf’s dominance, and the comes in the form of the Peugeot 2008, which was the most popular SUV sold last year and also had the largest market share growth of any SUV in the past three years. The Golf has seen its market share fall from 3.16% in 2008 to 1.75% today.

Speaking about the analysis, Felipe Munoz, global analyst at JATO said: “Crisis after crisis had a negative impact on demand and registrations in the market. The ongoing uncertainty of the COVID-19 pandemic, alongside the prolonged semiconductor shortage created a perfect storm for manufacturers last year.”