By on April 17, 2013

If anyone is hoping for a bottom in the European car market, then it’s nowhere to be seen. In the contrary, the decline appears to be accelerating. European passenger car registrations were down 10.2 percent in March, data published by the European manufacturers association ACEA show. That would be a decline for the 18th consecutive month.

Germany, which used to be an island of stability, was down a whopping 17.1 percent in March. Italy was down 4.9 percent, Spain lost 3.9 percent in sales, France decreased 16.2 percent. Only the UK, up 5.9 percent, saw increased sales.

For the first three months of the year, the European passenger car market declined by 9.8 percent, compared to the same period a year earlier.

New Passenger Registrations EU & EFTA By Manufacturer
March January – March
    %Share Units Units % Chg     %Share Units Units % Chg
’13 ’12 ’13 ’12 13/12 ’13 ’12 ’13 ’12 13/12
ALL BRANDS** 1,346,889 1,500,880 -10.3 3,096,266 3,428,926 -9.7
VW Group 23.7 23.5 319,662 352,533 -9.3 24.3 23.7 751,340 813,394 -7.6
VOLKSWAGEN 11.6 12.3 156,487 184,080 -15.0 12.2 12.6 377,549 431,262 -12.5
AUDI 5.7 5.6 76,401 83,630 -8.6 5.5 5.2 169,871 179,885 -5.6
SEAT 2.3 2.1 31,156 30,856 +1.0 2.3 2.0 69,959 69,541 +0.6
SKODA 3.7 3.6 50,465 53,641 -5.9 4.0 3.8 122,435 132,008 -7.3
Others (1) 0.4 0.0 5,153 326 +1480.7 0.4 0.0 11,526 698 +1551.3
PSA Group 10.3 11.0 138,173 164,998 -16.3 11.2 11.9 345,258 407,606 -15.3
PEUGEOT 5.7 5.9 76,697 88,906 -13.7 6.1 6.3 189,082 217,457 -13.0
CITROEN 4.6 5.1 61,476 76,092 -19.2 5.0 5.5 156,176 190,149 -17.9
RENAULT Grp 7.6 7.5 101,962 112,903 -9.7 8.3 8.2 258,311 281,800 -8.3
RENAULT 5.8 6.2 78,085 93,033 -16.1 6.2 6.6 193,413 225,170 -14.1
DACIA 1.8 1.3 23,877 19,870 +20.2 2.1 1.7 64,898 56,630 +14.6
GM Group 8.4 8.6 112,918 129,402 -12.7 7.8 8.1 241,944 277,129 -12.7
OPEL/VAUXHALL 7.4 7.4 99,595 110,833 -10.1 6.7 6.6 208,994 226,991 -7.9
CHEVROLET 1.0 1.2 13,306 18,530 -28.2 1.1 1.5 32,864 49,989 -34.3
GM (US) 0.0 0.0 17 39 -56.4 0.0 0.0 86 149 -42.3
FORD 8.2 8.7 110,243 131,128 -15.9 7.3 8.2 224,883 281,594 -20.1
FIAT Group 6.0 5.4 80,703 81,658 -1.2 6.4 6.3 197,806 217,712 -9.1
FIAT 4.7 3.9 63,149 58,607 +7.7 5.0 4.5 153,807 154,287 -0.3
LANCIA/CHRY 0.6 0.6 7,652 9,302 -17.7 0.6 0.8 19,336 27,255 -29.1
ALFA ROMEO 0.5 0.7 7,180 10,185 -29.5 0.6 0.8 17,545 27,220 -35.5
JEEP 0.2 0.2 2,176 2,907 -25.1 0.2 0.2 6,092 7,501 -18.8
Others (2) 0.0 0.0 546 657 -16.9 0.0 0.0 1,026 1,449 -29.2
BMW Group 6.6 6.2 88,934 93,320 -4.7 6.3 5.7 194,920 196,738 -0.9
BMW 5.2 4.9 70,592 73,890 -4.5 5.1 4.6 158,462 157,587 +0.6
MINI 1.4 1.3 18,342 19,430 -5.6 1.2 1.1 36,458 39,151 -6.9
DAIMLER 5.4 4.9 73,187 73,899 -1.0 5.4 4.9 168,331 168,003 +0.2
MERCEDES 4.9 4.4 66,352 65,814 +0.8 4.9 4.3 150,739 148,940 +1.2
SMART 0.5 0.5 6,835 8,085 -15.5 0.6 0.6 17,592 19,063 -7.7
TOYOTA Grp 4.5 4.8 60,022 71,976 -16.6 4.4 4.8 135,097 163,474 -17.4
TOYOTA 4.3 4.6 57,382 68,295 -16.0 4.2 4.5 129,662 154,838 -16.3
LEXUS 0.2 0.2 2,640 3,681 -28.3 0.2 0.3 5,435 8,636 -37.1
NISSAN 4.3 4.3 57,370 63,935 -10.3 3.9 3.9 121,330 132,198 -8.2
HYUNDAI 3.4 3.3 45,193 50,230 -10.0 3.5 3.4 109,693 115,057 -4.7
KIA 2.7 2.3 36,592 35,262 +3.8 2.7 2.3 82,751 79,974 +3.5
VOLVO CAR 1.7 1.7 22,770 26,148 -12.9 1.8 1.9 54,368 63,849 -14.8
HONDA 1.8 1.3 23,625 19,892 +18.8 1.4 1.1 43,693 36,759 +18.9
JLR 1.8 1.4 23,998 21,321 +12.6 1.4 1.1 43,401 38,285 +13.4
LAND ROVER 1.4 1.1 18,803 17,096 +10.0 1.1 0.9 34,803 31,384 +10.9
JAGUAR 0.4 0.3 5,195 4,225 +23.0 0.3 0.2 8,598 6,901 +24.6
MAZDA 1.3 1.4 18,082 21,187 -14.7 1.3 1.1 39,804 39,125 +1.7
SUZUKI 1.3 1.3 17,320 20,060 -13.7 1.2 1.3 38,636 44,185 -12.6
MITSUBISHI 0.6 0.7 8,572 9,843 -12.9 0.6 0.7 18,911 24,056 -21.4
OTHER** 0.6 1.4 7,563 21,185 -64.3 0.8 1.4 25,788 47,988 -46.3

The list of manufacturers resembles a MASH unit after a major battle: Blood and severed limbs everywhere. Volkswagen ended its walk on water and is down 9.3 percent in March. GM is down12.7 percent, Ford 15.9 percent. PSA lost 16.3 percent in sales and is down 15.3 percent for the first quarter.

Renault is down only 9.7 percent, saved by its low cost Dacia brand which is up a remarkable 20.2 percent. We have been telling you to keep an eye on the low cost segment, to which Europeans increasingly flock in those trying times.

Looking at the first quarter of the GM Group, prospects of producing itself out of the crisis look like a pipe dream. Interestingly, GM’s big hope, Chevrolet, is down 34.3 percent in the first quarter while Opel lost only 7.9 percent in the first three months. Imports from the U.S. are as good as non-existent. Only 86 GM units have been imported from the U.S. and sold in the EU, strangely without anyone complaining about a closed European market.

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19 Comments on “European Slaughterhouse: EU Car Sales Down For The 18th Straight Month, U.S. Makers Badly Mauled...”


  • avatar
    tenzin

    Wow, out of all of this gloomy picture for all manufacturers, Honda somehow managed to post healthy gains of 18.8%. What is the message here?

    • 0 avatar
      bjchase55

      The message I got is when you are are a low volume player and you have 3733 more sales, the percentage is much bigger. Percentages don’t really give the whole picture. I’m glad a chart with actual numbers was made available. Good to Honda for increasing sales though.

    • 0 avatar
      mike978

      Honda did do well. Toyota lost market share.
      At least Spain and Italy’s drops were small, so maybe some hope they are stabilising. Time will tell because the bottom will be reached at some point.

    • 0 avatar
      corntrollio

      Does Honda sell particularly well in England? I know British sales spike in March and September because that’s when new plates are issued.[1] They had 23K sales in March and 43K sales total in Q1, so the March sales were more than Jan and Feb combined, same as last year.

      [1] In case you don’t know about UK plates, you are issued a plate based on purchase. If you buy in March 2013, you get a 13 plate. If you buy in September 2013, you get a 63 plate. Then it’s 14 and 64 the following year. People use this to identify their cars instead of model year — “I have a 61 plate Ford Mondeo” means you have a Mondeo bought Sept 2011 to Feb 2012. That’s why car purchases spike in March and September — your plate effectively indicates the model year.

      • 0 avatar
        mike978

        I don`t have the data but I believe the UK is a major market (disproportionate to its size) for Honda. It helps to have a manufacturing plant there (Swindon) and the UK population is more open to “foreign” cars than say the French or Italians.

      • 0 avatar
        th009

        Honda’s year-over-year result is still good — it was March this time last year, too!

    • 0 avatar
      rickyc

      It’s real simple, you no longer need to drop tons of $$$ for a good quality car. If you look most of the gains are by companies like KIA, SEAT, and Honda. Companies that make good cars that are affordable for the average Joe especially during times when the economy is uncertain.

  • avatar
    sportyaccordy

    GM picked an awesome time to launch the ATS. It’s just what Europe wants right now.

    • 0 avatar
      mike978

      Actually they might have done since low cost cars 9Dacia) and high end luxury are doing well. It is the middle that is having a hard time.
      Sales of the ATS were never expected to be great, just see how long it has taken Lexus to reach a few thousand sales!

  • avatar
    gslippy

    Is Mitsubishi doing well anywhere? They’re dying in the US, and their EU sales are the lowest of any independent.

  • avatar
    Tstag

    Meanwhile JLR steals market share off everyone! Bet Ford wish they could use their numbers now.

  • avatar
    Adrian Roman

    The +1% of Seat is due to the launch of the new Leon… a lot of effort for one percent.

    • 0 avatar
      corntrollio

      The sales decline for VW, Audi, and Skoda when weighted by volume is 12%. Being up 1% while the rest of your company is down 12% and Europe as a whole is down 10% is a very good result.

      • 0 avatar
        mike978

        Adrian – thanks for pointing out why SEAT bucked the trend. I had forgotten about the new Leon.

        • 0 avatar
          european

          no harm done, because Seats are easy forgettable.

          you will get sportiness & excitment from Seats same as you will get love from a hooker.

          • 0 avatar
            th009

            Yet, as much as SEAT is struggling, it’s selling 2.5x as many cars as Alfa Romeo …

          • 0 avatar
            AFX

            “you will get sportiness & excitment from Seats same as you will get love from a hooker.”

            I’m looking forward to a future Seat of the pants review by Baruth now. Maybe he can title it “Fiddler On Baruth” ?.

            Your-a-peon car sales are creeping steadily down. I guess that’s the price you pay for public transportation, and modern cars that don’t rust out or fall to bits within the first 3 years. Maybe FIAT could bring back some of their 1970’s cars to help with turnover in new car sales ?.

            The other option is to take a page from the electronics industry and come up with modern technology that makes older cars obsolete. Maybe they could introduce High Definition digital fuels in Europe that aren’t compatible with the current cars on the road. Or maybe it could be somewhat compatible, but you’d have to buy a converter box for the engine that the government would subsidize with a $40 rebate, but you still wouldn’t get the horsepower or gas mileage using the new High Definition fuel in your older car as you would in a new one.

  • avatar
    RobertRyan

    GM and Ford are in a real holes. What can they do to reverse this? So Ford had the “best” selling car Globally. First or more probably 2nd best selling car Globally, has not done much for the bottom line in Europe.

  • avatar
    automaniak

    Really not bad for Fiat


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