VW brand sales fell 8% in 2021 but EVs a bright spot

Volkswagen brand's deliveries fell 8% to just under 4.9m vehicles in 2021 as the shortage of semiconductors restricted production. However, booming sales of electric cars were a bright spot for the company.

In China, the brand's biggest global market, VW saw the biggest decline, with sales down 15% to 2.43m. Deliveries in western Europe, the brand's second largest market, fell 5% 1.09m.

"The lagging supply of semiconductors caused limitations in production throughout the course of the year, which ultimately had a major impact on the unit sales figures," VW's sales and marketing boss, Klaus Zellmer, said in a statement on 12 January.

An order backlog of 543,000 vehicles in Europe alone, including 95,000 for the brand's ID battery-electric cars "shows clearly that the demand for Volkswagen vehicles continues to be very high," Zellmer added. 

VW brand's global sales of full-electric or hybrid vehicles grew 73% to 369,000, amounting to 7.5% of total volume, up from 4% in 2020.

Sales of full-electric cars increased to 263,000, up 97% compared with 2020. Deliveries of plug-in hybrids rose 33% to 106,000.

In Europe, electrified vehicles accounted for just under 20% of VW brand's deliveries, up from 13% in 2020.

"Volkswagen is continuing to press ahead with the transition to e-mobility despite the limited supply of semiconductors," said VW brand CEO Ralf Brandstaetter in the statement. "In a very short time, Volkswagen has reached a top position for BEVs in Europe," he said.

VW brand's most popular battery-electric model worldwide was the ID4 compact crossover with 119,650 units sold, followed by the ID3 with sales of about 76,000.