The EU new car market fell to a record low in January due to the ongoing shortage of semiconductors.

As the European manufacturer association Acea announced on Thursday, almost 683,000 new vehicles were registered in the first month of the year, the lowest number ever in January.

Compared to the already weak month of January 2021, which also marked a record low due to the effects of the corona restrictions on car sales, the decline was 6.0 percent.

The lack of microchips is "still having a negative impact on car sales across the region," the association said of the new numbers.

The bottlenecks in semiconductors had already led to a significant slump in the EU new car market in 2021 as a whole: the number of new registrations fell to 9.7 million vehicles, the lowest since the statistics were introduced in 1990.

Chip crisis all-dominant factor

This trend continued in the first month of the new year.

"The EU new car market is going down further," commented management consultancy EY.

The chip crisis is still the dominating factor that is preventing the situation from recovering, explained EY automotive market expert Peter Fuss.

"The manufacturers could sell a lot more new cars if they were able to deliver."

In the past two years, an enormous amount of pent-up demand has built up and the order books are full, Fuss continued.

"However, the lack of chips prevents a return to normality." At least in the first half of the year, the situation will not improve and for the rest of the year, "timid growth at a continued low level" is expected at most.

"This crisis will last well into the coming year, we will not see any real trend reversal in the current year," predicted Fuss.

The new geopolitical tensions, high inflation and high fuel prices could also have a negative impact.