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Sales of new cars in Europe slumped almost 10 per cent in the first quarter of 2013 as the economically depressed market spirals towards a 20-year low.

Registrations across the 27-member European Union fell from 3.31 million to 2.99 million units in the period from January to March, with France, Germany and Italy leading the slump with double-digit percentage losses.

More than 225,000 vehicles were wiped from those three countries alone compared with the first quarter of 2012, while a number of other smaller but still significant markets – including Spain, the Netherlands, Austria, Poland and Sweden – have likewise lost ground.

The United Kingdom is the one bright light in Europe, with sales increasing 7.4 per cent to 605,198 over the three-month period. Belgium, Denmark, Estonia and Portugal are the only others in the black in 2013.


Ford has been the hardest hit, with sales falling one-fifth across the region to 219,453 units.

French conglomerate PSA Peugeot Citroen is down 15.3 per cent, having sold approximately 60,000 fewer cars so far this year.

Toyota Group (-17.6 per cent), General Motors (-12.8 per cent), Fiat Group (-9.0 per cent), Renault Group (-8.1 per cent) and Volkswagen Group (-7.5 per cent) were also hit hard during the first quarter of this year.

While BMW Group fell 0.8 per cent, BMW brand actually enjoyed 0.7 per cent growth, while rival Daimler increased 0.1 per cent on the back of 1.1 per cent growth from luxury division Mercedes-Benz.

Others bucking the trend include Jaguar (+21.5 per cent) and Land Rover (+11.5 per cent), Honda (+16.3 per cent), Renault’s budget brand Dacia (+14.9 per cent) and Kia (+3.0 per cent).


Fiat Chrysler CEO Sergio Marchionne was particularly bleak in his assessment of the current conditions in Europe.

“The market is getting worse by the day and for the first time I can’t see the bottom,” Marchionne said.

Hyundai Europe COO Allan Rushforth told Bloomberg he expects the trend “to continue through the second quarter before an improvement in consumer confidence helps to push up sales in the second half”, while Ford Europe CEO Stephen Odell said “a recovery in the second half looks a little less likely”.

Analysts have suggested the European market could contract by as much as seven per cent this year, falling well below last year’s 12 million mark.

  • $29896495

    Poor Ford, two of the Brands it sold have really jumped ahead probably off the back of their multimillion dollar changes before the sale.

    Could this sales slump also be a size issue like here and the US? Traditionally they have always prefered smaller narrower cars, unlike most of the new cars on sale there now?

    • Anuj

      Not sure, i would have thought most of the cars that sell their are usually restrictive in sizes (the land/range rover being the obvious exception).

      • $29896495

        Well you have cars like the Mondeo which back in history was a Cortina, but the closest car to that Cortina would be the Fiesta. That’s just in Fords, All the Brands are the same, They needed their little cars to get around those laneways they call streets. Passat Golf all grown up and Americanised.

        • Anuj

          Yea I see your point, could be part of the issue i guess. I think the money/ economy factor defs would be decisive, and with regards to what you are mentioning, i wonder what the individual sales figure looks like for small vs large in the Europe.

          • $29896495

            Have a look at this a complete breakdown of car sales in EU by every possible variable. But it does show the small medium (Medium and small medium car advice calls small) and small are the largest sellers, same as here and the US. Tells a story. I tried to load the file but it wouldn’t take.

            http://www .theicct.org/sites/default/files/publications/Pocketbook_LowRes_withNotes-1.pdf

          • Anuj

            I guess you could use this to some extent and conclude that the writing is on the wall for Holden and Ford (well commodore and falcon at least).

          • $29896495

            Well yes, it does. It also shows that a company can push as large as it wants in a search for profits but the buying public have a breaking point. The balloon burst around 2001, but the companies world wide pushed larger and people stopped buying and moved down.

            That Euro picture translates (or transfers) exactly to Australia.

          • Anuj

            Yup, ppl are talking with their wallets- the thing is, that in this day and age of information being easily available, and with the focus shifting on managing your future better…….ppl are no longer of the mentality that bigger is better. even in homes it seems to be the trend. in aus- we have moved away from the massive backyards and what not- don’t want to pay money on maintenance. AUS companies need to adapt or fold- no third option im afraid.

          • Anuj

            I myself am looking to buy a sportish car- but i dont want a big engine with too much fuel (also my wife is the boss) so i am reducing my choice to a veloster (possible turbo if i get enough brownie points :))

          • $29896495

            Personally, I like the Pro Ceed better – but that’s me. (Might be an easier sell)

          • $29896495

            Exactly right. Looking at those charts, and the same here the trend started before the release of the current cars, in everything as you say, but nobody in the car industry seems to have taken any notice. Really makes you wonder. Of course this is the problem with rampant capitalism, it only thinks one way.

        • Darryl

          Fords One Ford policy only seems to be working in/for the States. They don’t yet have the new Mondeo in Europe, but it won’t help as it’s even slightly bigger than the current one, which is a sales disaster there. Nor is the new Kuga doing all that well. The UK is the only market where Ford are still no. 1; without those sales Fords sales slump would be even worse.

  • marka

    Not surprised BMW hasn’t fallen considering the crazy finance deals they are offering(in Germany at least)

  • F1orce

    This is what happens when you tax everyone and everything through to their nose. And all the regulations also don’t help the cause.

    • $29896495

      Go to that address it tell everything. Infact, we should have something similar in this country.