Spanish new-car sales fell 19 percent to 86,081 in December, according to the industry group ANFAC, as automakers continue to struggle with the COVID-19 pandemic's economic impact and a shortage of components including semiconductors.
December sales were also 19 percent below the pre-pandemic level of 2019.
Registrations to private customers fell by 19 percent to 41,814, while business sales declined 14 percent to 40,204. Sales to rental companies dropped by 45 percent to 4,063.
Sales through December were up 1 percent in 2021 to 859,477 but were 32 percent lower than pre-pandemic year 2019.
Dealer group FACONAUTO forecast sales in 2022 could reach 970,000 units depending on how the current pandemic wave evolves; how fast the microchip shortage ends and to what extent demand is affected by the increase of the registration tax which took effect on January 1st.
Winners and losers
Despite the market's overall decline, a number of brands recorded gains. Among volume automakers, Hyundai rose 12 percent, while Renault was up 8.1 percent. Local brand Cupra saw sales jump 97 percent, thanks to the success of the Formentor compact crossover.
By volume, Peugeot was the most popular brand in December, with 7,410 sales, a drop of 11 percent, with Hyundai as No. 2 with 6,511 and Renault finishing third with 6,412.
The Hyundai Tucson compact SUV was the most popular model last month, followed by the Peugeot 2008 small crossover. The Dacia Duster compact crossover rounded out the top three.
Sales of Volkswagen Group's core brand fell 45 percent, while Seat sales dipped 25 percent and Skoda was down 43 percent.
VW Group has paused production at its main plant in Wolfsburg, Germany, which builds the best-selling Golf compact hatchback, many times this year because of a lack of semiconductors. Sales of the Golf were down 68 percent in December after falling 55 percent the previous month.
VW Group, like other automakers, is prioritizing its most profitable brands and cars for chips. Sales of Porsche sport cars posted a 52 percent gain and Audi suffered a relatively mild 8 percent decline.
Within Stellantis, Fiat sales fell 54 percent, Opel declined 3.6 percent and Jeep dropped 24 percent. The group's premium units fared better, with DS up 27 percent, Alfa Romeo up 2 percent and Maserati gaining 73 percent.
Ford sales were down 20 percent, while Dacia suffered a 10 percent decline. Nissan saw a 43 percent decline.
Among premium brands, Mercedes-Benz sales fell 42 percent, while rival BMW dropped 6.3 percent.
EV sales slow down
Sales of full-electric vehicles declined by 19 percent year-on-year, resulting in a 4.1 percent market share the same of December 2020; the share reached a peak of 4.9 percent in September.
The Tesla Model 3 was Spain's most popular EV in December, with 433 registrations, followed by the Dacia Spring and Renault Zoe. The Model 3 was the most popular EV annually too, with 2,853 registrations, ahead of the Kia Niro and Renault Zoe.
Plug-in hybrids had a 5.6 percent share, down from 6.1 percent in December 2020.
Sales of full-hybrid vehicles rose 9.8 percent for a 28.9 percent market share compared with a 21.4 percent share in December 2020.
Sales of gasoline-powered cars were down 24 percent for a 38.3 percent share, which was down 2.5 percentage points from September 2020.
Diesel sales dropped 35 percent for a 20.9 percent share, down 5.2 percentage points year-on-year.