NEW car registrations in Spain in March have shown an optimistic 128% increase over the same period in 2020 according to Spanish market analysts Autoinfor.

In numbers, the 128% increase represents 85,913 units sold last month, compared to just 37,644 in 2020, a period that was paralysed with the introduction of the national state of alarm.

Whilst these figures seem positive, like the market is gaining traction again, Autoinfor warn that when compared to the same period in 2019, before the pandemic, 2021 figures are still way down, a further 32% in fact.

Spread over the quarter, from January to March, 2021 figures are down 43.1% compared to 2019, with 105.989 compared to 187,271.

Experts point the finger squarely at the poor economic status of Spain for the downturn in sales, specifically the lack of lease and business purchases that make up 27% of total car sales.

Interestingly, Spain’s entrance into the World harmonized Light-duty vehicles Test Procedure (WLTP), a method of testing and categorising vehicles on their Co2 emissions, has also affected many manufacturers as they struggle to keep up with an ever increasing demand for greener vehicles.

Adapting current vehicles to meet stringent emission levels costs money, a factor that filters down to the consumer as price increases as manufacturers aim to recoup costs.

As an example, Vauxhall, or Opel in Europe, have had to modify 55% of their petrol and diesel vehicles at an estimated cost of €1.5 billion.

The introduction of electric vehicles and the push for carbon neutrality by 2025 shows some light at the end of the tunnel but the transition at a plant level is not a simple or fast one.

Sales have shown promise though, as 2020 showed a 64% increase in electric sales to over 70,000, a figure that will surely rise thanks to Spain’s plan to subsidise purchases to the tune of €800 million.

By manufacturer, French brand Peugeot tops the table in 2021, with their award winning 208 light SUV is leading the charge with 18,396 cars sold, followed by their 3008 and 2008 family vehicles.

Toyota, buoyed by their ever expanding hybrid range come in second with 13,684 units sold, with the native VW sub-brand Seat in third with 13,224.

Nissan and Citroen also highlight with their Qashqai and C3 models selling 4,599 and 4,475 units respectively.

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