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Volkswagen sales drop 8% but EV volume doubles


Volkswagen sales dropped around 8% in 2021 as it battled the ongoing global semiconductor shortage, but it recorded a substantial uptick in sales of all electrified models.

The German company delivered 4.897 million vehicles globally, down from 5.328m in 2020 – which was itself a 15.1% decline, attributed to the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Volkswagen cited the “lagging supply of semiconductors” as the principal factor in the latest decline, with output of various models restricted by temporary factory closures throughout the year.

Volkswagen told Autocar that “all factories were affected – some more, some less so”. The main Wolfsburg site was harder hit than the electric car facility at Zwickau, for example, it said. 

Volkswagen said the effect of the production limitations couldn’t be “entirely compensated for” throughout 2021 and predicts that the first half of 2022 will “remain highly volatile and challenging” as the shortages persist. 

It claimed to have a record European order backlog of 543,000 vehicles but anticipates that it will lower this figure as production rates stabilise over the course of the year. The sales shortfall is partly made up of cars that “are not lost but will be produced as soon as possible”, Volkswagen emphasised. 

While overall sales declined, however, Volkswagen is celebrating a 73% year-on-year increase in the sale of plug-in vehicles. Sales of plug-in hybrids (PHEVs) climbed 33%, while EV volume nearly doubled, soaring 97% with 263,000 sold globally.

Volkswagen CEO Ralf Brandstätter hinted that this trend is set to carry on as the electrification of the brand’s line-up continues.

“In a very short time, we’ve reached a top position for all-electric vehicles in Europe,” he said. “With our Accelerate strategy and the expansion of the model portfolio, we will continue to increase the pace of the e-mobility offensive. 

“Before the end of this year, the ID Buzz will represent yet another emotional model in our ID family.”

The ID Buzz van is the fourth addition to the ID family in Europe. It will be launched in commercial and passenger-carrying forms later this year, following a reveal in the coming weeks.

EVs and hybrids accounted for more than 7% of global deliveries and almost a fifth in Europe. In Volkswagen’s home market, a quarter of all cars sold had a plug-in drivetrain of some form.

The rise in EV popularity was most profound in China, where Volkswagen sold 437% more EVs than in 2020. It anticipates a “further considerable increase in 2022”. 



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