The recovery in car sales in Europe is being held back by economic turbulence

Auto sales in Europe rose for a third month in October as supply chain problems eased, although concerns are growing that deteriorating economic conditions are starting to deter buyers.

New car registrations rose 14 percent last month to 910,753 vehicles, the Association of European Car Manufacturers said on Thursday. The industry returned to growth in August after 12 consecutive months of decline.

While automakers are finding it somewhat easier to secure tight semiconductors and other components, the region’s energy crisis is driving up costs and standing in the way of a stronger recovery. Last month’s sales compared to a miserable performance a year ago and were well below the level of a few years ago.

“Even assuming some improvement over the next year, the market will remain well below what was considered normal operating volumes before the pandemic,” analysts at LMC Automotive wrote in a report last week.

Europe braces for a harsh winter as double-digit inflation grips the region. Germany, the region’s largest economy, is expected to shrink, while France, Italy and Spain could expand only slightly. In the UK, where car sales are heading for their worst year since 1982, inflation hit a 41-year high last month.

Manufacturers in the region are beginning to see signs that consumers are taking a pause, with Stellantis NV seeing a slight drop in purchases. Germany’s BMW AG similarly warned that the region was lagging behind, with demand flattening being more pronounced in northern European countries.

High-end luxury vehicles have been relatively resilient, and automakers are still benefiting from backlogs accumulated during the height of their supply chain crises.

Registrations were up 26 percent in the UK, 17 percent in Germany and 15 percent in Italy. Volkswagen AG was the standout performer for the month, up 40 percent year-on-year. The recovery in car sales in Europe is being held back by economic turbulence

Fry Electronics Team

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