In total, 844,187 vehicles were sold in March 2022, a decrease of 20.5% compared to March 2021, and almost a third less than in 2019. This is the lowest volume of sales for a month of March since the start of the statistical series in 1990, excluding the exceptional case of 2020, which had paralyzed the economy at the start of the Covid-19 pandemic.

The shutdown of Ukrainian factories added to electronic component shortages and delivery problems that have plagued the auto industry since the spring of 2021.

Ukraine is notably the main European supplier of wiring harnesses, parts described as the "nervous system" of cars.

Automotive: European sales continue to decline Cléa PÉCULIER AFP

Due to a lack of parts, several factories have been put on hold across Europe.

Volkswagen had to temporarily halt production at several German sites, including part of its historic plant in Wolfsburg, and Zwickau, its electric car production center.

The Renault factory in Douai, which produces the electric Mégane, is shut down for 11 days.

"Logistical problems, compounded by Russia's invasion of Ukraine, have adversely affected automobile production," ACEA said.

The main markets experienced double-digit declines, such as Germany (-17.5%), France (-19.5%), Italy (-29.7%), Spain (-30.2%), Poland (-17.4%), Belgium (-17.7%) or Sweden (-39.5%).

Near the EU, the British market also fell by 14.3%.

The Volkswagen factory in Wolfsburg, Germany, on March 22, 2022 Yann Schreiber AFP/Archives

As for automotive groups, the European No. 1 Volkswagen saw its sales fall by 24.3%.

Only its luxury brands (Porsche, Bentley, Lamborghini and Bugatti) are resisting the crisis.

Number 2, the Stellantis group, born from the merger of PSA and Fiat-Chrysler, saw its market share fall to 20% with a sharp drop in sales (-32.9%), and poor scores for Peugeot , Fiats and Jeeps.

After months of sharp decline, Renault held up better in March (-14.1%), driven by the success of Dacia.

Only Kia continues its momentum (+10.1%) while Hyundai is down 8.2%.

Toyota fell by 12.2%, BMW-Mini by 20.5%, Mercedes-Smart by 13.6%

The Federation of German Manufacturers (VDA) sharply lowered its production forecast for 2022 in early April, counting on 3.3 million units produced in Europe's largest economy, an increase of 7% against + 13% expected previously.

From now on, a "broadening of sanctions against Russia and production interruptions in China, due to the + zero Covid + strategy adopted by Beijing, could make it necessary to make other adjustments to the prognosis in the coming months", specified Hildegard Müller. , President of the VDA.

© 2022 AFP