Global car sales fell in Q1 2022, while China’s OEMs gained market share
According to JATO Dynamics’ data for 53 markets, 17 million vehicles were registered in Q1 of 2022. This marks an 8% increase on sales in the same period in 2020, but 16% less than the 20.3 million units registered in 2019. While the industry rebounded strongly in 2021 as pandemic-imposed restrictions were eased, the combined impact of ongoing chip shortages, the worsening inflationary crisis, and the conflict in Ukraine are proving to be even more challenging for the industry.
In the first quarter of 2021 there were significant declines across key markets. In the US, new vehicle registrations totalled 3.31 million – a decrease of 16% compared with 2021, while registrations also decreased in Europe’s big 5 markets: Germany (-5%), UK (-6%), France (-19%), Italy (-23%), and Spain (-16%).
During the pandemic, China was driving growth helping to offset declines in the West, however the reintroduction of lockdowns has so far stifled demand in 2022. In other markets, the difficulties faced by the industry can be seen on the supply side caused by a lack of available new vehicles and shortages of key components – directly or indirectly affected by the conflict in Ukraine.
While some countries including Chile (+39%), South Africa (+18%), and Southeast Asia (+17%) recorded growth in Q1, the current crisis in expected to impact these markets later in 2022.
EVs outsell diesels
The EV boom continued to gather momentum at the beginning of 2022. With more than 1.5 million registered units (BEV and PHEV), they secured a market share of 12.2%, up from 6.6% in 2021. In comparison, in 2019 only 345,000 EVs were registered. Since then, the segment has grown by 10% and these vehicles are now more popular diesels which accounted for 11.8% of the global sales mix.
While the surging demand for EVs is beginning to have an impact on the market share of vehicles with traditional powertrains, petrol remains the dominant fuel type across all markets with 9.2 million units registered in 2022.
Last year, OEMs were able to counterbalance supply issues by using the few available semiconductors to produce EVs, however these vehicles no longer seem to be immune to the current crisis.
Sedans continue to lose share to SUVs
In Q1 2022, SUVs were once again the leading segment accounting for 43% of the global sales mix – up from 41% in 2021. The increasing popularity of these vehicles comes at the expense of sedans, the market share of which fell from 21% in Q1 2021 to 19% in the first three months of this year. Hatchbacks maintained a market share of 17% due to continued demand in Europe and some developing markets. Pickup trucks – a favourite among consumer in the US, Southeast Asia, Latin America, and Africa – also gained traction accounting for 7.4% of the market. The market share of wagons and MPVs continued to fall.
China’s OEMs gain market share
Toyota Group led in the rankings by OEM securing nearly 14% of the total market share – up 0.7% compared with 2021. Volkswagen Group followed in second place; however, its market share fell from 12.4% to 10.7%, in part due to high levels of exposure to the Chinese market where demand had dropped. Thanks to its EV offering and strong position in several markets, Hyundai-Kia continued to perform well securing third position in the ranking of OEMs by market share, with 8.7%.
Despite the impact of COVID-19 restrictions, China’s OEMs emerged as the leaders in market share gains, with an increase of 2.3% in Q1 2022. China’s leading manufacturers are beginning to gain a foothold in markets such as South America, Africa, and Southeast Asia thanks to the competitiveness and affordability of their EV offering. It is still however unclear how quickly these OEMs will increase their presence in Europe and the US, and how these markets will act in response.
Tesla was the second most successful OEM, recording an increase in market share of 0.8%. While the US manufacturer has faced difficulties in meeting demand, the Model 3 and Model Y have been hugely popular and continued growth is expected.
In contrast, SAIC – General Motors lost market share (-1.1%) due to decreased demand in China, while the market share for Renault – Nissan – Mitsubishi also decreased (-0.8%) due to its strong presence in the Russian market. Stellantis and Ford also lost market share recording drops of 0.6% and 0.5% respectively.
Last year, the majority of OEMs sold fewer vehicles but were still able to increase their profitability due to the huge uptick in demand that followed the easing of COVID-19 restrictions. While OEMs are now operating in different economics conditions, many are using the current crisis as an opportunity to improve their offering and increase prices – BMW Group, Hyundai-Kia, Mercedes, Tesla, and Volkswagen all saw an increase in profits in Q1 of this year. This trend does not however apply to OEMs that are heavily exposed to developing markets where consumers are more sensitive to price increases – Ford, General Motors, Suzuki, and Toyota all posted losses while selling few vehicles.
Two Teslas hit the top ten
In the rankings by model, two Teslas entered the top ten for the first time. The Model Y secured an impressive 5th position with 153,246 registered units, ahead of the Model 3 in 8th position with 132,140 units. In 2021, the Model 3 was the 9th best-selling car in the full year global rankings – this was the first time an EV entered the top 10. Toyota secured first and second place with the Rav 4 and Corolla, registering 247,781 and 243,820 units respectively.
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