Spanish car factories are gradually improving the low activity they have maintained in recent years, but they are still far from recovering the number of units they assembled before the pandemic. In 2022, 2.2 million new cars left its facilities, a volume 21% lower than the figures for 2019, according to the manufacturers’ association, Anfac.
The organization that brings together the brands ensures that the flows of raw materials and the availability of chips have improved, but many plants continue to suffer from interruptions in the supply chain and operate at idle. Despite this, production grew 5.8% last year compared to a year earlier, with a significant improvement in December, when manufacturing shot up 18.9%. This improvement is explained because in 2021 the automotive industry was affected, in addition to the lack of semiconductors due to the stoppage of the Suez Canal.
“The automotive sector prudently observes a certain improvement, although this does not mean that a recovery has been achieved, nor do we believe that it implies a change in trend”, affirms the general director of Anfac, José López-Tafall, cautiously, who acknowledges that current production volumes are 600,000 units below those of 2019.
The evolution of production during this year may affect the domestic car market. The dealership association defends that registrations in 2023 could reach 870,000 units if the bottlenecks that affect the sector are not resolved. If that situation were to improve, it could reach 960,000 units.
One of the good news for 2022 is the growth in the manufacture of zero and low emission vehicles (pure electric, plug-in and non-plug-in hybrids, and natural gas), which have seen an increase to 319,605 units, 31.9 % more. In December that production shot up 89%.
Grupo Stellantis, owner of brands manufactured in Spain such as Peugeot, Citroën or Opel, stood out in this area, being the only group that manufactures electric vehicles in its three plants. With 112,000 electrified vehicles, it represents more than a third of the total Spanish production.
When the problems of the last two years have not yet been resolved, now a new one has been added, which has to do with the logistics chain: the lack of truckers to transport vehicles and the saturation of some ports complicate the arrival of new units to dealers. It is one of the reasons why Spain is one of the markets with the worst sales figures among all European markets.
The fall in production has an effect on exports, which are also still well below the pre-pandemic situation. The 1.88 million cars moved outside of Spain for sale represent a drop of 18.5%. If compared to 2021, the evolution is positive, 3.3%. Europe, with 89% of the share, accounts for the majority of foreign sales, with France, Germany, Italy, the United Kingdom and Turkey as the main source markets.
Anfac has presented this week its three-year roadmap, in which it demands from the Government a battery of measures that facilitate the sale of vehicles, especially through greater and simpler aid for the purchase of electric vehicles.
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