BRUSSELS (dpa-AFX) - New car registrations in the European Union were at their lowest level in almost 30 years last year. In December, there was indeed an EU-wide increase of 12.8 percent to 896,967 newly registered cars thanks to a strong final spurt in the major markets of Germany and Italy, as the European industry association Acea announced in Brussels on Wednesday. For the year as a whole, however, 9.26 million passenger cars were registered, 4.6 percent fewer than in the already weak previous year - and thus fewer cars than at any time since 1993.
In Germany, the expiry of subsidies for plug-in hybrids at the end of the year and falling premiums on the purchase of battery-powered cars had caused pull-forward effects in December. Of the largest EU car markets, car registrations also rose slightly in the year as a whole only in Germany (+1.1 percent), while Italy (minus 9.7 percent), France (minus 7.8 percent) and Spain (minus 5.4 percent) saw a downward trend. Car manufacturers in Europe complained primarily about inadequate parts supplies, including electronic chips.
The market leader in the EU continued to be Volkswagen's core brand VW Passenger Cars, with just over one million cars sold. With around 2.3 million cars, the VW Group as a whole was also ahead of Peugeot, Fiat and Opel parent Stellantis (1.8 million cars). The Renault Group was in third place with just under 985,000 cars. BMW and all its brands registered 624,940 new vehicles, Mercedes-Benz 549,023./men/stw