By on September 18, 2012

The European car market accelerates  its race to the bottom. Back from a long vacation, the European car manufacturers association ACEA reports that the EU car market was down 8.9 percent in August, after having dropped 7.8 percent in July. Eight months into the year, European car sales are down 7.1 percent as  Europeans registered 8,268,642 new cars so far.

New Car Sales EU, August 2012
August August % Chg Jan – Aug Jan – Aug % Chg
’12 ’11 12/11 ’12 ’11 12/11
AUSTRIA 24,570 25,884 -5.1 239,796 242,784 -1.2
BELGIUM 31,256 37,788 -17.3 353,073 399,119 -11.5
BULGARIA 1,519 1,644 -7.6 12,905 12,636 +2.1
CYPRUS 743 946 -21.5 8,190 10,023 -18.3
CZECH REPUBLIC 13,193 14,105 -6.5 118,584 114,507 +3.6
DENMARK 13,564 12,507 +8.5 114,565 113,381 +1.0
ESTONIA 1,423 1,312 +8.5 11,872 9,988 +18.9
FINLAND 7,535 10,024 -24.8 80,918 89,998 -10.1
FRANCE 96,067 108,462 -11.4 1,293,973 1,493,745 -13.4
GERMANY 226,455 237,561 -4.7 2,108,716 2,121,047 -0.6
GREECE 3,886 7,297 -46.7 42,072 72,513 -42.0
HUNGARY 3,539 3,428 +3.2 35,799 30,315 +18.1
IRELAND 3,098 3,238 -4.3 74,158 84,396 -12.1
ITALY 56,447 70,764 -20.2 981,030 1,224,096 -19.9
LATVIA 894 856 +4.4 7,251 6,851 +5.8
LITHUANIA 957 1,064 -10.1 8,210 8,759 -6.3
LUXEMBURG 2,899 3,018 -3.9 35,750 36,143 -1.1
NETHERLANDS 33,211 39,062 -15.0 396,101 409,500 -3.3
POLAND 18,088 19,597 -7.7 188,178 181,408 +3.7
PORTUGAL 5,443 8,131 -33.1 68,103 114,259 -40.4
ROMANIA 5,044 8,747 -42.3 44,392 49,006 -9.4
SLOVAKIA 5,947 5,190 +14.6 46,515 44,956 +3.5
SLOVENIA 3,072 4,170 -26.3 35,504 41,855 -15.2
SPAIN 48,820 47,223 +3.4 520,216 568,349 -8.5
SWEDEN 21,065 24,368 -13.6 181,774 201,031 -9.6
UNITED KINGDOM 59,433 59,346 +0.1 1,260,997 1,220,618 +3.3
EUROPEAN UNION 688,168 755,732 -8.9 8,268,642 8,901,283 -7.1

In August, the gap between north and south widened. The UK eked out a small 0.1 percent gain, Germany saw its sales contract by 4.7 percent, while France (-11.4 percent) and Italy (-20.2 percent) faced double-digit downturns. The Spanish market expanded by 3.4, which will turn out as a flash in the pan. Spain increased its VAT in September, which resulted in a small August rush on car dealerships. The revenge will come this month. In the first two weeks of September, car sales in Spain were down 28 percent.  

New Car Sales EU, August 2012
August Jan-Aug
    %Share  %Share Units Units % Chg % Chg
’12 ’11 ’12 ’11 12/11 +0.0
ALL BRANDS** 688,168 755,732 -8.9 -7.1
VW Group 28.2 25.3 194,063 191,530 +1.3 -0.1
VOLKSWAGEN 14.5 13.6 99,661 102,841 -3.1 -2.4
AUDI 6.4 5.5 44,271 41,526 +6.6 +5.2
SEAT 2.6 2.4 17,892 18,271 -2.1 -16.2
SKODA 4.3 3.8 29,890 28,790 +3.8 +0.8
Others (1) 0.3 0.0 2,349 102 +2202.9 +2433.8
PSA Group 11.4 11.9 78,512 90,233 -13.0 -13.5
PEUGEOT 6.5 6.4 44,526 48,617 -8.4 -14.6
CITROEN 4.9 5.5 33,986 41,616 -18.3 -12.2
RENAULT Group 8.8 9.2 60,438 69,363 -12.9 -16.3
RENAULT 6.2 7.1 42,346 53,765 -21.2 -19.8
DACIA 2.6 2.1 18,092 15,598 +16.0 -1.3
GM Group 7.6 8.4 52,135 63,453 -17.8 -11.9
OPEL/VAUXHALL 6.2 6.9 42,387 52,239 -18.9 -15.4
CHEVROLET 1.4 1.5 9,738 11,183 -12.9 +7.5
GM (US) 0.0 0.0 10 31 -67.7 -35.2
FORD 6.0 7.7 41,536 58,403 -28.9 -12.3
FIAT Group 5.3 5.9 36,422 44,541 -18.2 -17.1
FIAT 4.0 4.3 27,231 32,303 -15.7 -17.2
LANCIA/CHRYSLER 0.5 0.6 3,634 4,884 -25.6 -4.2
ALFA ROMEO 0.6 0.7 3,841 5,649 -32.0 -31.2
JEEP 0.2 0.2 1,497 1,469 +1.9 +24.6
Others (2) 0.0 0.0 219 236 -7.2 -41.2
BMW Group 5.9 6.2 40,634 47,000 -13.5 -3.1
BMW 4.9 5.1 33,912 38,743 -12.5 -3.0
MINI 1.0 1.1 6,722 8,257 -18.6 -3.8
DAIMLER 5.5 5.1 37,711 38,214 -1.3 -2.7
MERCEDES 5.0 4.6 34,176 34,416 -0.7 -1.4
SMART 0.5 0.5 3,535 3,798 -6.9 -11.6
TOYOTA Group 4.3 4.2 29,550 31,454 -6.1 -1.0
TOYOTA 4.1 3.9 28,301 29,747 -4.9 -1.6
LEXUS 0.2 0.2 1,249 1,707 -26.8 +12.5
NISSAN 3.2 3.0 21,748 22,920 -5.1 -4.3
HYUNDAI 3.7 3.5 25,317 26,085 -2.9 +10.1
KIA 3.0 2.4 20,308 18,077 +12.3 +23.1
VOLVO CAR CORP. 1.3 1.4 9,091 10,756 -15.5 -11.6
SUZUKI 1.4 1.3 9,421 9,858 -4.4 -10.8
HONDA 1.1 0.9 7,905 6,596 +19.8 -5.8
MAZDA 1.0 1.0 6,749 7,537 -10.5 -10.9
JAGUAR LAND ROVER Group 0.6 0.3 3,849 2,601 +48.0 +35.5
LAND ROVER 0.5 0.2 3,256 1,883 +73.0 +44.6
JAGUAR 0.1 0.1 593 718 -17.4 +6.4
MITSUBISHI 0.6 0.9 4,377 6,441 -32.0 -33.4
OTHER** 1.2 1.4 8,402 10,670 -21.3 -18.0

On a manufacturer level, the Volkswagen Group holds its own with European sales up 1.3 percent in August and down only 0.1 percent for the first eight months. For the first time, the Volkswagen count also contains Porsche, in the “others” column together with Bentley, Bugatti and Lamborghini.

Sales of Ford were down drastically by 28.9 percent in August. GM is down 17.8 percent. The Fiat Group is down 18.2 percent. The two French makers slowed their descent in August.

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