Spain March car sales slump as trucker strike adds to industry woes

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FILE PHOTO: Striking truck drivers and supporters protest over high fuel prices and working conditions, in Madrid

MADRID – New car registrations in Spain fell more than 30% in March as a partial trucker strike delayed deliveries of vehicles and parts and deepened existing supply-chain issues, industry body Anfac said on Friday.

A global semiconductor shortage and other logistical struggles as economies emerge from the pandemic slump have dampened deliveries of cars globally, leading to record low sales in Europe.

But the situation is particularly severe in Spain where thousands of truckers staged a walkout of more than two weeks in protest at what they saw as the government’s inaction over soaring fuel prices.

Anfac said registrations of new cars were down 30.2% from a year earlier and 51% from March 2019, before the pandemic struck. By contrast in neighbouring France, registrations fell 19.5% from March 2021 and 35% from March 2019.

Bucking the strong downward trend, electric car registrations rose 17.6% from a year ago, albeit from low figures.

Anfac’s Communication Director Noemi Navas said striking drivers of car-transporter trucks had severely affected deliveries to customers.

“In addition to the raw-material supply crisis and rising energy prices, brands have thousands of vehicles sitting idle in production lots due to distribution difficulties,” she said in a statement.

While the organisation stressed supply-side issues were the main challenge, it voiced concerns that economic uncertainty in the wake of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine could in the future weigh on demand too.

(Reporting by Nathan Allen, editing by Inti Landauro and David Evans)

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