EU new car registrations were lower last year than at any time in almost 30 years despite a strong final spurt in December sales in the German and Italian markets, the European Automobile Manufacturers Association (ACEA) announced on Wednesday.

Last year 9.26 million passenger cars were registered, 4.6% fewer than an already weak 2021 and fewer cars than at any time since 1993.

December numbers were a bit brighter when sales rose 12.8% to 896,967.

In Germany, the expiration of subsidies for plug-in hybrids at year’s end and falling premiums on the purchase of battery-powered cars pushed December sales.

Of the largest EU car markets, car registrations rose slightly in the year as a whole only in Germany with a 1.1% rise, while Italy showed a 9.7% decline and Spanish car sales were down an annual 5.4%.

Car manufacturers in Europe complained above all about inadequate parts supplies, including electronic chips.

The market leader in the EU continued to be Volkswagen, with just over 1 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.

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