Sales of battery electric and plug-in-hybrid vehicles, which had been a bright spot in the previous months, fell in December after government incentive funds ran out.
According to importer association UNRAE, sales of full-electric vehicles fell 15 percent in December to 6,205, while plug-in-hybrid sales declined by 11 percent to 5,657. Their combined market share was 13.3 percent, up from 11.2 percent in December 2020 and from 11.7 percent in November.
Both segments posted significant growth over 12 months. Full-electric sales more than doubled to 67,542 with a 4.6 percent market share, while plug-in-hybrid sales grew 152 percent to 69,312 for a 4.7 percent share.
A government package to spur sales of full-electric, plug-in-hybrid and low-emissions vehicles expired in 2021. The latest 65-million-euro top-up to this plan was introduced in late October but ran out in two days. The government has not yet allotted new funds within its 2022 budget, which was approved in late December.
Industry associations have been critical of the lack of new incentives for 2022. According to UNRAE "the lack of a mid-term incentive strategy will mean car buyers pay the cost of the transition to greener vehicles."
The Fiat New 500 was the most popular full-electric vehicle, with 887 units sold, topping the 805 units of the Dacia Spring. The Jeep Compass compact SUV was again the most popular plug-in-hybrid choice with 693 units sold, ahead of the Jeep Renegade sibling and the Peugeot 3008 compact crossover.
Sales of the Tesla Model 3 midsize sedan dropped by 51 percent to 418. Overall sales of the Tesla brand were down 31 percent to 633. Tesla sold 6,045 units in 2021, up 59 percent in 2020.
Full-hybrid and mild-hybrid sales were up 3.3 percent for a 30.1 percent market share, down from 31.4 percent in November but higher than both gasoline and diesel car sales.
Diesel sales declined 42 percent for a 20.6 percent share, 5.4 percentage points lower than in December 2020 but 1.6 percentage points higher than in November. Gasoline powertrain sales were down 42 percent in December, with a market share of 26 percent, 7 percentage points down from December 2020.
Sales of cars powered by liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) were 1.9 percent lower, with an 8.1 percent market share, 2.1 percentage points higher than the previous year.
Demand for vehicles driven by compressed natural gas (CNG) dropped 46 percent, giving the powertrain a market share of 1.8 percent, down from 2.5 percent in December 2020.