I guess, a lot of people at Ford European HQ are sorry of their “Europe’s biggest brand” rararah of last month. There will be a lot of “eat your words” in Cologne. Or “eat a broom” as they say in Germany. Much less appetizing than eating words. Ford’s sales numbers for April are horrible.
First things first: Looks like the European sales numbers by ACEA will be out (probably by Monday) and they will be bad. One indicator: See above. Careful: Ford counts 19 markets in Europe, the ACEA counts 27.
Sales in Europe are going down as many cash for clunker programs end. We predicted last month that a lot of the March growth was the last hurrah before it’s really going downhill in the Old Country. And so it happened.
In April, total industry sales in those 19 markets fell by 5.3 per cent – the first monthly decline in the industry this year when compared to 2009, says Ford in their monthly sales report. Careful: ACEA’s numbers may differ slightly.
Ford doesn’t break out their percentage performance in April, hoping that the journos are mathematically challenged. Ford says: “After ten months of consecutive year-over-year monthly volume gains, Ford registrations in the main 19 markets were 101,100, some 21,000 lower than April 2009. Market share was 7.8 per cent, 1.1 percentage points below the April 2009 level.”
So lets see, let’s get the old abacus out … I get a 17 percent decline for Ford in April compared to April 2009. Correct?
Yikes! The market goes down 5.2 percent, Ford tanks 17 percent? I guess that’s a sell signal, before the other guys do the math.
Of course, it was all planned: “In April, we took a conscious decision not to follow the market, knowing that the expected decline in industry volumes after the ending of many of the scrappage schemes would likely prompt some players to increase even further their aggressive marketing incentives,” said Ingvar Sviggum, Vice President, Marketing, Sales and Service, Ford of Europe. “That’s exactly what happened, and while we will remain competitive in the market, we will not devalue our brand or hurt our residual values just to chase volume or share.” Ah, ok.
The “Europe’s best selling brand” also seems to have been a one month wonder. Now Ford claims the title for “best-selling brand for April and in the first four months of 2010 in the UK and Hungary, Denmark, Ireland and Turkey.” I see.
Their Ford Fiesta is now “Europe’s No.2 best-selling car overall in April.” Translation: The Golf is most likely back in the #1 position.
Year-to-date, Ford says they are now “No.2 best-selling passenger car brand in Europe.” We‘ve been through that bunk last month. Brand, maybe. But in Europe the count is by car maker. Hmmm. In March, their market share in the EU27 was an impressive 11.8 percent, which put them in the #3 slot behind Volkswagen (19.7 percent) and PSA (13.1 percent). In April 2009, their market share was 10 percent in all of Europe as counted by ACEA. Applying the 1.1 percent drop to the ACEA numbers would give an 8.9 share. That’s Fiat or GM territory. We’ll know more on Monday. But we know today: these numbers are bad.