New car registrations plummet in April, as does the used car market

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In April 2022, new car registrations fell to 108,733 from 140,426 in April 2021, a decrease of 22.6%. Even the second-hand market is engaged, for the fifth month in a row, on a steep downhill slope.

MG is one of the rare manufacturers to have a smile on a new car market in decline for the eleventh month in a row.  © Erick Fontaine / Digital

MG is one of the rare manufacturers to have a smile on a new car market in decline for the eleventh month in a row. © Erick Fontaine / Digital

The French car market continues to plunge, the eleventh in a row since June 2021. In April 2022 (20 working days), registrations of new passenger cars were 108,733, a decrease of 22.6% compared to April 2021 (21 working days) and even 42.22 % compared to April 2019, the reference year when it preceded the health crisis.

Whether it’s the analysts from NGC-Data or the AAA Data, providers of record numbers every month, they are unanimous about the reasons for this fifteenth fall, which are roughly the same from one month to the next. The lack of semiconductors continues to penalize production lines and actually prolongs deliveries of vehicles. But that’s not all. The decline in purchasing power, the rise in fuel prices, the war in Ukraine and the political situation in France are all obstacles to the purchase of a new vehicle.

@ NGC-Data

As a result, during the first four months of 2022 (84 working days), only 474,115 new vehicles have passed. This corresponds to a decrease of 18.57% compared to 2021 (same number of working days) and 36.07% compared to 2019 in the same period.

On the producer side, the numbers are hardly encouraging. We start with the French brands, whose monthly sales – compared to April 2021 – have collapsed: -33.94% for Citroën, -32.26% for Peugeot and -31.77% for Renault.

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Foreign brands are also not immune to this bleeding. Thus, the German producers take the broth: -31.19%, -30.94%, -28.48% and -18.63% for Volkswagen, Audi, Mercedes and BMW, respectively. Even Porsche is no exception with a drop of 35.23%.

The other affected brands are Toyota (-20.38%), Hyundai (-8.43%), Volvo (-50.12%), Jaguar (-72.20%), Land Rover (-43%), Mazda (-30.10%) and Suzuki (-24.56%).

Nissan finds colors and can calmly prepare for the arrival of the Ariya.  © Erick Fontaine / Digital

Nissan finds colors and can calmly prepare for the arrival of the Ariya. © Erick Fontaine / Digital

But let’s be reassured, there are manufacturers that smile like DS (+ 1.03%), Dacia (+ 6.54%), Alpine (+ 158.9%), Cupra (+ 161.96%), Ford (+ 10.88%), Nissan (+ 47.84%), Kia (+ 9.09%), Mitsubishi (+ 158%), Honda (+ 19.85%) and MG (+ 1042.11%) .

Note that this decrease also affects motorcycles (-12.5%) and, more surprisingly, vehicles without a driving license (-27%), such as the Citroën AMI.

Fifth month with return to the apartment

Unfortunately, this decline does not only affect the new market. The opportunity “also commits – for the fifth month in a row – on the same steep downward slope to -16.9% in April with 434,730 transactions“(source: AAA Data).

The fault is the lack of vehicles, the consequence of which is to drive up prices. As Marie-Laure Nivot, Market Intelligence Manager at AAA Data, points out, “we see very clearly that customers are looking for used models that are more affordable and economical to use, especially electric, hybrid or bioethanol powered models“.

The progressive implementation of ZFE-m by certain municipalities, which excludes Crit’Air 4, Crit’Air 5 stickers and ineligible vehicles, means that the French are looking for hybrid engines (Crit’Air 1 and 2) and bioethanol (Crit’Air 1, 2 or 3). Even more, it’s Crit’Air 0 used electric cars that benefit from an ecological bonus of 1000 euros, which “on the other hand, shows an almost doubling of transactions during the month as since the beginning of the year“.

As for predicting the future, analysts do not risk it. All refer to a situation that can not change until 2023-2024.

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