Europe’s automobile industry is facing a worse year than the Covid-battered 2020 with sales falling a fifth straight month amid a global shortage of electronic chips used in new models. European sales fell back 20.5 percent year-on-year to 713,346 units, the worst slump since 1993, the European automobile manufacturers association (ACEA) said on Friday. Although economic activity bounced back relatively strongly in the first 11 months of the year compared with last year, car sales on the continent stagnated, falling 0.04 percent. “The impact of the microchip shortage on vehicle output dragged the EU’s year-to-date sales performance into negative territory despite 2020’s record-low base for comparison,” the ACEA said in a statement. Several major markets also saw double-digit falls in November sales German registrations dived 31.7 percent, Italian and Polish sales were off by a quarter and Spain and Belgium were down 12.3 and 17.1 percent while France limited the fall to 3.2 percent. Bulgaria, Ireland, and Slovenia saw small gains, by contrast. Taken January-November, three of the four largest EU markets posted gains, even so on 2020, Italy rising 8.6 percent, Spain 3.8 percent, and France 2.5 percent. But Germany saw a fall of 8.1 percent compared with 2020. European market leader Volkswagen saw January-November sales drop back 1.6 percent to 2.2 million with Skoda suffering in particular although strong showings from Seat and Porsche compensated. Multinational Stellantis, which grew out of the merger earlier this year of PSA and Fiat Chrysler, saw sales for the year to date rise 0.4 percent to close on two million units. France’s Renault saw sales for the year to date dive 9.9 percent on sales of 922,000 and Mercedes sales were down 11.6 percent. Korea’s Hyundai-Kia in stark contrast posted a 20.4 percent gain to 763,000 sales on the year to date while Toyota added 12 percent.