By on January 17, 2012

Allegedly a basket case, Europe finished the year without major losses, at least as far as new car sales go. 13.1 million cars were registered in the EU last year for aslight 1.74 percent loss compared to 2010. That according to data released today by the European auto manufacturer’s association ACEA. If the common market EU would count as one common car market, then Europe would rank second, after  China with 18.5 million, and before the U.S.A. with 12.8 million (excl. heavy trucks & buses.) But fear not, the EU does not count as one market, at least not as far as heavy metal is concerned.

Basically, new car sales in Europe have been going sideways for decades. (Forget the irritating red percentage change line. Look at the bars.) The downward tenor since 2007 is more a reflection of ageing and shrinking populations in Europe’s volume markets than a result of booms or busts. Europe as a whole does not have the wild swings of the U.S., where many people have three cars, or of China, where most people still don’t have a car. Europe is filled with capable carmakers who defend their territory with tooth and nails.

(Note to the crowd that likes to blame miserable sales elsewhere on secret import restrictions: The “non-EU” brands – no matter where the cars are made – have a share of 16.6 percent of the European market. It’s been like this as long as I can remember.)

New car registrations 2011, EU 27

Jan – Dec Jan – Dec % Chg
11 10
GERMANY 3,173,634 2,916,260 8.83%
FRANCE 2,204,229 2,251,669 -2.11%
UNITED KINGDOM 1,941,253 2,030,846 -4.41%
ITALY 1,748,143 1,961,579 -10.88%
SPAIN 808,059 982,015 -17.71%
BELGIUM 572,211 547,347 4.54%
NETHERLANDS 556,123 482,544 15.25%
AUSTRIA 356,145 328,563 8.39%
SWEDEN 304,984 289,684 5.28%
POLAND 277,430 315,858 -12.17%
CZECH REPUBLIC 173,282 169,236 2.39%
DENMARK 168,707 153,858 9.65%
PORTUGAL 153,433 223,464 -31.34%
FINLAND 126,123 111,989 12.62%
GREECE 97,682 141,499 -30.97%
IRELAND 89,896 88,446 1.64%
ROMANIA 81,719 94,541 -13.56%
SLOVAKIA 68,203 64,033 6.51%
SLOVENIA 58,417 59,226 -1.37%
LUXEMBURG 49,881 49,726 0.31%
HUNGARY 45,097 43,479 3.72%
BULGARIA 19,136 15,646 22.31%
ESTONIA 15,350 8,848 73.49%
LITHUANIA 13,223 7,970 65.91%
LATVIA 8,849 4,976 77.83%
EUROPEAN UNION (EU27) 13,111,209 13,343,302 -1.74%
EU15 12,350,503 12,559,489 -1.66%
EU10 760,706 783,813 -2.95%
ICELAND 5,038 3,106 62.20%
NORWAY 138,345 127,754 8.29%
SWITZERLAND 318,958 294,239 8.40%
EFTA 462,341 425,099 8.76%
EU27+EFTA 13,573,550 13,768,401 -1.42%
EU15+EFTA 12,812,844 12,984,588 -1.32%

More than 80 percent of all EU sales are generated in a special part of Europe called “the volume countries” in the EU car biz. The volume countries are Germany, France, the UK, Spain, and Benelux. What happens here shapes the market. You see nearly 9 percent growth in Germany, single digit losses in France and the UK, double digit losses in Italy and Spain.

New car registrations 2011, EU 27 by manufacturer group

January – December
    %Share Units Units % Chg
11 10 11 10
ALL BRANDS** 13,111,209 13,343,302 -1.7
VW Group 23.2 21.2 3,045,000 2,832,799 +7.5
VOLKSWAGEN 12.4 11.2 1,622,045 1,491,421 +8.8
AUDI 5.0 4.5 654,337 600,120 +9.0
SEAT 2.3 2.2 297,416 294,292 +1.1
SKODA 3.6 3.3 469,221 445,163 +5.4
Others (1) 0.0 0.0 1,981 1,803 +9.9
PSA Group 12.5 13.5 1,643,160 1,805,375 -9.0
PEUGEOT 6.8 7.4 889,073 983,969 -9.6
CITROEN 5.8 6.2 754,087 821,406 -8.2
RENAULT Group 9.7 10.4 1,272,560 1,389,340 -8.4
RENAULT 7.8 8.5 1,026,179 1,130,124 -9.2
DACIA 1.9 1.9 246,381 259,216 -5.0
GM Group 8.7 8.7 1,141,380 1,164,111 -2.0
OPEL/VAUXHALL 7.4 7.4 968,728 986,948 -1.8
CHEVROLET 1.3 1.3 172,212 176,093 -2.2
GM (US) 0.0 0.0 440 1,070 -58.9
FORD 8.0 8.1 1,046,711 1,081,778 -3.2
FIAT Group 7.1 7.9 928,390 1,056,399 -12.1
FIAT 5.1 6.1 671,131 811,774 -17.3
LANCIA/CHRYSLER 0.8 0.8 102,099 108,432 -5.8
ALFA ROMEO 1.0 0.8 125,794 105,663 +19.1
JEEP 0.2 0.1 22,177 13,663 +62.3
Others (2) 0.1 0.1 7,189 16,867 -57.4
BMW Group 6.0 5.4 780,981 726,040 +7.6
BMW 4.7 4.4 617,906 588,816 +4.9
MINI 1.2 1.0 163,075 137,224 +18.8
DAIMLER 5.0 4.9 652,790 651,515 +0.2
MERCEDES 4.4 4.3 575,243 570,884 +0.8
SMART 0.6 0.6 77,547 80,631 -3.8
TOYOTA Group 4.0 4.2 523,418 559,251 -6.4
TOYOTA 3.8 4.1 497,928 542,677 -8.2
LEXUS 0.2 0.1 25,490 16,574 +53.8
NISSAN 3.4 2.9 443,300 390,403 +13.5
HYUNDAI 2.9 2.6 382,255 346,310 +10.4
KIA 2.2 1.9 286,792 257,923 +11.2
VOLVO CAR CORP. 1.8 1.6 234,613 213,324 +10.0
SUZUKI 1.3 1.4 166,535 184,597 -9.8
HONDA 1.1 1.3 141,705 177,453 -20.1
MAZDA 1.0 1.3 128,238 172,042 -25.5
MITSUBISHI 0.8 0.7 101,138 98,065 +3.1
JAGUAR LAND ROVER 0.7 0.7 95,225 91,863 +3.7
LAND ROVER 0.6 0.5 72,634 65,468 +10.9
JAGUAR 0.2 0.2 22,591 26,395 -14.4
OTHER** 0.7 1.1 97,017 144,714 -33.0

No breathtaking changes on the manufacturer front. Volkswagen continues to grow. It gained 2 percent more market share. No other carmaker gained (or lost) that much of the European market. Hyundai & Kia grow steadily. Nissan is the Japanese surprise.

Imported cars from the U.S. are unsalable: GM had imported 1070 U.S. cars in 2010 . That dropped to 440 in 2011. The 172,000 “Chevrolets” come from Korea.

If you give the data a good read, then you will see a divided Europe. Northern and most of Eastern Europe are doing just fine, thank you. Vacation lands Italy, Spain, Portugal, Greece are hard hit.

OIf there is so much bleeding, why is there so much foot-dragging about saving the Euro? The low Euro powers the export machine in the north. The stellar earnings of Volkswagen, Daimler, BMW et al are driven by strong exports and strong sales in foreign markets. The weaker the Euro, the better for them.

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7 Comments on “2011 New Car Sales Around The World: Divided Europe...”

  • avatar

    The numbers at Jeep don’t look unsalable. I know they used to make the Grand Cherokee’s for Europe in Austria, but I don’t think that’s the case anymore.

    Of course export numbers from the US are very small but that has been the case for ages. I’m interested to see how the Volt/Ampera does once it is really widely available…of course it won’t do huge volume but could be a significant portion of overall production ends up in Europe, as the car may fit Europe’s higher gasoline prices and tax structures better than the US, plus, there it won’t be considered a small car.

    • 0 avatar

      The Ampera has the potential to kill it here in the Netherlands at least (not the biggest market of course, but they’d take a decent share right away). Opel has always had a relatively positive name here and it would be exempt of some of the draconian taxes. It’d be considered big enough for a family and all the cities are so close together here that trips within the country over 150 miles are rare anyway, so it would work in daily use.

      Only drawbacks would be that people still like to go on holliday through Europe with their cars in the summer (and cover up to 1500+ miles) and of course some would still be apprehensive about the newish tech, but still it’d be an immediate hit.

  • avatar

    Figures in the Netherlands are up, but unfortunately it doesn’t tell the complete story. A lot of the cars sold are due to government regulations to promote the sale of eco-boxes and discourage the sale of actual cars. They do this mostly by taxing regular cars into oblivion instead of subsidies on smaller, economical cars.

    The breakdown of the mos popular car models is as follows:
    VW Polo (B-segment car)
    Renault Twingo (A-segment)
    Peugeot 107 (A)
    Toyoa Aygo (A)
    Opel Corsa (B)
    SEAT Ibiza (B)
    VW Golf (C)
    Ford Fiesta (B)
    Opel Astra (C)
    Citroen C1 (A)

    It used to be the C-segment cars that made the volume but even those are deemed to big by our government now for Jan Modaal (Joe Average). In fact the first D-segment car is the VW Passat in P16 and I bet even those are mostly 1.6TDI Bluemotions.

    It’s a sad state of affairs for the car enthusiast here…It has been for a long time (ever since 1978 when BPM was introduced really) but it’s getting worse and worse…It’s getting to the point where it’s a real reason to leave the country.

    • 0 avatar

      What is the situation in the Netherlands today? I’ve lost my contacts there about ten years ago. Do they have heavy taxes on gas? How do they “promote the sale of eco-boxes”? What is their taxing scheme to achieve this?

      • 0 avatar

        Well it’s quite complicated but basically how it works is there’s a tax scheme based on the amount of CO2 a car emits per kilometer that’s partly weighed against the car’s size. For every gram over an arbitrary boundary set by the state you pay a certain amount of tax when purchasing a car. Moreover, there’s a progressive rate, so the grams get more expensive and more expensive over certain arbitrary thresholds set by the state. Then apart from this there’s still a fixed tax of 27% of the bruto value of the car, and of course the 19% VAT. The 27% used to be 45,2% (BPM) but as this tax is actually deemed illegal by the EU it was originally meant to be replaced completely by CO2 tax however in the end that didn’t quite happen. To make it more complicated still, people with corporate lease cars need to add either 14, 20 or 25% of the net value of the car (based on CO2 emission) they’re leasing to their income statement for taxation every year (cause they enjoy personal benefit from private use of a car without paying all the taxes that would normally apply to them since businesses don’t have to pay the VAT).

        It’s pretty much another typical socialist burocratic mess and it means the nice cars are out of the question. To illustrate; an M3 MT is 129.000 euros these days, while a 335i is 62.000. The difference is all CO2 tax. The M3 DKG is actually almost 11K CHEAPER than the MT here, because the tax you save by the better fuel economy far outweighs the extra cost of the DKG.

        Oh…and fuel is still the highest in Europe (1.75 Euro/liter) and there’s also an ownership tax based on the weight of the car.

        The communism Marx and Co had in mind lives right here in the Netherlands…and I think we’re close to the point where it’s really going to cost us badly (natural gas reserve is drying up…). Luckily for the first time in a 100 years we now have a ‘right-wing’ mp, but sadly what we call right wing here is what a US democrat would call a socialist (and also sadly, they’ve had to make a government with a party that bas some racist undertones but that’s another story).

  • avatar

    Wow, what’s up in Iceland? Did they lose that many cars to the volcano, or is everyone going on a binge?

    • 0 avatar

      300K people live there and they’re all broke. There were a few icelandic banks that grew rediculously large compared to their economy that went belly up, so things aren’t going to well up there. IIRC, alcoholic beverages are insanely expensive in Iceland so I doubt they’re going on a bender, unless it’s on moonshine or you mean something else.

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