Citroen's global sales rise 7% despite chip shortage

Citroën's global sales increased by 7% in 2021 amid the semiconductor shortage, with gains in every region, the automaker said.

The Stellantis brand recorded 796,868 sales, with 624,140 in Europe (a gain of 1.2%) 61,695 in the Middle East and Africa (up 12%;) 48,615 in South America (up 39%;) 41,391 in China (up 102%;) and 8,665 in India/Asia Pacific (up 14%.)

The best selling model was the small C3 hatchback which has been on the market since 2016 and is based on an earlier generation platform than comparable models from Peugeot and Opel/Vauxhall. 

The biggest gains for an existing model were for the Jumper large commercial van; while the compact Berlingo passenger van was down by 24%.

Notable debuts were the China-built midsize C5 X, with 12,000 registrations in China the second half of the year (it launches in Europe in 2022) and the C4, which recorded 72,962 sales after reaching the market late in 2020.

The Berlingo and midsize SpaceTourer van are likely to see sharp sales declines in 2022, as Stellantis has discontinued selling internal-combustion variants in Europe in favor of full-electric powertrains because of emissions concerns.

Two models are likely to have their last appearance in Citroën's lineup in 2022, the 108 minicar and C4 SpaceTourer compact minivan. 

The brand has not announced any significant new models for 2022; the C5 Aircross compact SUV has been facelifted following a similar upgrade for the small C3 Aircross. 

The tiny Ami electric quadricycle recorded 9,183 registrations in 2021, compared with 2,819 in 2020. But it is not considered a car for emissions purposes.

Citroën's sales have fallen well short of forecasts in previous years. Former CEO Linda Jackson (now CEO of Peugeot) had set a target of 1.6m sales in 2020, and as recently as 2017 Citroën sold 1.1m vehicles. 

But anticipated growth in China failed to materialise, as sibling brands Peugeot and DS also slumped sharply. Jackson had once hoped to have 50% of Citroën sales come from China; in 2021 that figure was 5.2%.

New CEO Vincent Cobee is aiming to grow Citroën's sales outside of Europe, notably in India, where the New C3 small hatchback will debut ahead of launches in other emerging markets.