The Russian invasion of Ukraine and its economic consequences have deepened drop in vehicle productionwhich at the end of the first quarter of the year decreased by 17% compared to the same period in 2021, to 550,454 units produced in Spain.
To the semiconductor crisis and the shortage of raw materials that the sector has been facing for months war has been addeda new energy recovery and the carrier strike in March, according to the monthly report published Thursday by the manufacturers’ association Anfac.
Vehicle production contracted by more than 20% in March, above the declines in January (17.5%) and February (13%); if the data are compared with those recorded before the pandemicproduction in Spain was 25% lower than the data presented in the first three months of 2019 in this first quarter.
According to Anfac, this 25% decrease equates to 200,000 units less produced in the countrywhere production levels are “moving away from their natural rhythm”.
In addition to the problems with semiconductors and high energy prices –who were fired again to coincide with the conflict in Ukraine-, the employers have included among the reasons for this decrease the unemployment carried out in March by professional hauliers and drivers.
“In this context of international uncertainty and material shortages, we need to pay attention also the interruptions in the transport of goods following the strike of the carriers (from March 14 for vehicle carriers and from March 21 for general cargo), which had a significant impact on the pace of the factories, “he complained.
Crash of commercial and industrial vehicles
Its general manager, José López-Tafall, stressed in a statement that all these factors “affect the pace of production centers and demand from foreign markets “, and will “significantly affect the evolution and recovery” expected this year. However, he stressed that the difficulties “affect all of Europe in the same way” and not just Spain, and should not be “a brake on the transformation towards a new, more sustainable mobility”.
By vehicle type, there are clear differences: from January to March the production of passenger cars and SUVs were down 13.5% from the first quarter of the previous year, up to 443,124 units, compared with the decrease of 28.4% recorded in the commercial and industrial sectors, up to 107,330 units. By energy source, gasoline leads the statistic among passenger cars with more than 302,000 vehicles produced, compared to 78,700 diesels, 36,000 plug-in hybrids and 16,700 electric vehicles.
Exports drop even more
As for the export chapter, sales of vehicles produced in Spain abroad recorded a decline of 18% in the first quarter, up to 465,029 units; the figure also worsened considerably in March, with a decline of 25%. As in the case of production, it can be noted that the decrease is considerably greater in the case of commercial and industrial vehicles (-30%) compared to cars and SUVs (-14.8%).
The uncertainty and the strike of the transporters were “key aspects” in this negative evolution, according to the producers, and joined the already “slow recovery of the main European markets”. In March alone, European markets accounted for nearly 72% of all exports.
“The main destinations in Europe recorded significant drops of between 20% and 40% in the purchase of ‘made in Spain’ vehicles “, explained the managers of the employers, who cited as an example the collapse of sales to Turkey (-38%). Outside Europe, “there are also drops in deliveries to Africa, South America, Asia and Oceania”; the only exception was North America thanks to a 29% increase in US sales.
The general manager of Anfac underlined that the Perte, destined to promote the electric vehicle with European funds, is “an opportunity” and is essential to “accelerate the start-up” of the projects. He also pointed out that the commitment to sustainable mobility is essential for the sector to “keep jobs” and its weight in the national economy, which currently hovers around 11% of GDP.