BERLIN, Jan. 18 (Xinhua) -- Europe's new car market in December again shrank significantly by 23 percent year-on-year and was even down 25 percent compared with 2019 pre-crisis levels, according to a monthly study published by consulting firm Ernst & Young (EY) on Tuesday.
New car sales in December were down in all Western European markets, with the German market showing above-average decline with a 27 percent drop in sales, according to EY. In 2021, Europe-wide sales were only slightly down year-on-year, but still 26 percent below 2019 levels.
"The economic outlook has clouded recently, with Omicron leading to new uncertainties and risks -- not least for global supply chains," said Peter Fuss, partner at EY. There also was "no improvement in the supply of semiconductors in sight for the time being in view of the high demand."
"Even if sales were to increase slightly compared with 2021, the market would still be a long way from pre-crisis levels. The recovery is therefore postponed until 2023," Fuss added.
The global chip crisis was also slowing down sales of new electrified cars. Sales in Western Europe's five largest markets, Germany, the United Kingdom, France, Italy and Spain, only rose by 11 percent in December, but were up 73 percent in 2021, according to EY.
The market share of electrified cars rose to a new record high in December as 25.2 percent of all newly registered passenger cars in the top five markets in Western Europe were either electric cars or plug-in hybrids, according to EY.
The Association of International Motor Vehicle Manufacturers (VDIK) expects around 850,000 new electric vehicle registrations in Germany in 2022. The number of electric cars could grow to more than two million by the end of 2022.
"Now that electric cars have achieved a market breakthrough, it is important to continue this positive trend," said Reinhard Zirpel, VDIK president, calling on the German government that electric purchase incentives and expansion of the charging infrastructure were "the most important levers."
Germany recently extended its purchase premium of up to 9,000 euros (10,260 U.S. dollars) for electric vehicles until the end of 2022. The government aims to have 15 million pure electric cars on the road by 2030. (1 euro = 1.14 U.S. dollars)