The Truth About Cars » ACEA The Truth About Cars is dedicated to providing candid, unbiased automobile reviews and the latest in auto industry news. Sun, 27 Jul 2014 20:45:49 +0000 en-US hourly 1 The Truth About Cars is dedicated to providing candid, unbiased automobile reviews and the latest in auto industry news. The Truth About Cars no The Truth About Cars (The Truth About Cars) 2006-2009 The Truth About Cars The Truth About Cars is dedicated to providing candid, unbiased automobile reviews and the latest in auto industry news. The Truth About Cars » ACEA European Auto Market Begins Climb Out Of Six-Year Descent Wed, 29 Jan 2014 16:30:48 +0000 2014 Ford Transit Nugget

After six consecutive years of falling auto sales, the European automotive industry group ACEA predicts a 2 percent increase for 2014 as demand slowly works its way out of the wilderness, according to a report by Automotive News.

At a press conference in ACEA’s headquarters in Brussels, president Philippe Varin said that though sales won’t return to pre-Great Recession levels any time soon, he believes 2014 will “herald a transition toward a recovery” based upon December 2013 delivery gains signalling a U-turn toward the light.

Overall European sales in 2013 fell 1.8 percent to 12.3 million units, the lowest figure noted since 1995. Within the European Union, 11.8 million units were delivered in the same period; Varin, who is also CEO of PSA/Peugeot-Citroen, predicts the EU figure will climb “just above” 12 million in 2014.

Though automakers, such as Ford and Renault, are also predicting a gradual revival in sales — hinging on the economic activity of France, Spain and Italy in the coming year — the Blue Oval, PSA and General Motors are shuttering factories and scaling back their workforces in Europe in response to the market decline.

To remedy the issue, Varin believes authorities in the European market should do all they can to help bolster the coming recovery, including increased flexibility in labor and the use of EU social funds to help automakers reorganize.

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Sergio For President: One More Year Fri, 07 Dec 2012 16:59:20 +0000

Despite previous calls for his ouster, Fiat’s CEO Sergio Marchionne was elected for another year as president of the influential European auto trade group ACEA, Reuters reports. In July, Volkswagen demanded Marchionne’s head after he had accused Volkswagen of exploiting the European crisis to gain market share by offering aggressive discounts.

“Marchionne is unbearable as president of ACEA,” Volkswagen communications chief Stephan Grühsem told Reuters in July. “In our view, his comments are unqualified yet again. We’re therefore calling on him to step down.” Volkswagen threatened to “exit from the manufacturers association.”

Volkswagen and Fiat made up at the Paris auto show in September, and Marchionne stayed on. The rotating presidency of the carmaker club is shared by French, Italian and German automobile manufacturers. Members Toyota and Hyundai, which were accepted very reluctantly, stand no chance. Presidents rule one or two years.

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Marchionne Calls For EU Intervention, End Of Free Trade Wed, 10 Oct 2012 17:39:49 +0000

It looks like Fiat and Chrysler CEO Sergio Marchionne does not want to be head of the European automakers association ACEA much longer.  Today, he called for a massive EU rescue package for the ailing European car industry, with coordinated capacity cuts as the centerpiece.  He also called for a stop of free trade agreements. “Let the European car industry make its adjustments… This is not the time to embrace free trade,” Marchionne said while Reuters was taking notes.

Earlier this year, Marchionne had called for a massive government intervention that would require all automakers to shed capacity, most likely with financial support from Brussels. At the time, an anonymous European auto exec predicted serious pushback from the German side, which is doing just fine, danke. The German side did not waste time. To the delight of the EU, which has other problems, the German members of the ACEA did not support Marchionne’s plan, and it went nowhere. They also started working on Marchionne’s ouster. Soon thereafter, Volkswagen demanded that Marchionne step down as the head of the lobbying group, after Marchionne accused Volkswagen of dumping.

Last month, Marchionne said that ACEA’s board agreed all members would reach their own decisions. He also hugged Volkswagen CEO Martin Winterkorn in front of cameras. “They hugged, but they did not kiss,” quipped  Daimler CEO Dieter Zetsche.

All of this seems to be forgotten, and Marchionne calls for the strong arm of Brussels again.  Marchionne also said the EU should delay signing free trade agreements. When he said this before, it earned him a serious rebuke from EU Trade Commissioner Karel De Gucht. Export-heavy German carmakers and export-heavy EU states are for FTAs. It seems like Marchionne is under a lot of stress, and the way he is going, he might be under more stress soon.

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Volkswagen Demands Marchionne’s Head Fri, 27 Jul 2012 12:29:10 +0000

Fiat & Chrysler CEO Sergio Marchionne’s pointed remarks have attracted the ire of Europe’s 500 pound gorilla Volkswagen. VW demanded that Marchionne steps down as president of the European auto manufacturers association ACEA. If he won’t resign, Volkswagen could resign its ACEA membership – which would send the club into instant irrelevancy, not to mention insolvency.

“Marchionne is unbearable as president of ACEA,” Volkswagen communications chief Stephan Grühsem told Reuters. “In our view, his comments are unqualified yet again. We’re therefore calling on him to step down.” If Marchionne won’t heed the call from Wolfsburg, Volkswagen’s “exit from the manufacturers association is an option,” Grühsem told Germany’s Spiegel magazine.

In an article in the New York Times, Sergio Marchionne accused Volkswagen of exploiting the European crisis to gain market share by offering aggressive discounts, “It’s a bloodbath of pricing and it’s a bloodbath on margins,” Marchionne told the paper.

Marchionne currently holds the rotating appointment of the presidency of the European manufacturers club. After he took over, his remarks and initiatives often were regarded as overly reflecting the interests of Fiat and possibly other scratched and dented European makers only, and to run against the interests of the powerful German contingent. By openly attacking Volkswagen, Marchionne burned a bridge too far.

Marchionne is not very popular amongst Europe’s auto CEOs. Privately, some call him an upstart clown, or worse.

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Europe In March 2012: Car-nage Tue, 17 Apr 2012 14:06:31 +0000

European car sales are getting it on the chin. Sale in the EU were down the sixth consecutive month, with a decline of 7.0 percent compared to March last year, ACEA says. March is prime selling season in Europe, and customers refuse to buy. March registrations have not been at this level since 1998. January to March, car sales in Europe are down 7.7 percent.

March March % Chg
’12 ’11 12/11
AUSTRIA 37,933 35,869 +5.8
BELGIUM 59,915 63,533 -5.7
BULGARIA 1,483 1,589 -6.6
CYPRUS 1,000 1,539 -35.0
CZECH REPUBLIC 17,064 17,501 -2.5
DENMARK 12,386 16,796 -26.3
ESTONIA 1,565 1,218 +28.5
FINLAND 22,924 12,585 +82.2
FRANCE 197,774 257,533 -23.2
GERMANY 339,123 327,921 +3.4
GREECE 4,901 8,531 -42.6
HUNGARY 4,768 4,457 +7.0
IRELAND 13,100 14,396 -9.0
ITALY 138,137 188,495 -26.7
LATVIA 879 873 +0.7
LITHUANIA 1,003 1,096 -8.5
LUXEMBURG 5,319 5,660 -6.0
NETHERLANDS 52,549 56,601 -7.2
POLAND 29,630 27,289 +8.6
PORTUGAL 9,622 18,930 -49.2
ROMANIA 4,902 3,793 +29.2
SLOVAKIA 6,427 6,480 -0.8
SLOVENIA 5,186 5,909 -12.2
SPAIN 84,427 88,397 -4.5
SWEDEN 28,555 29,527 -3.3
UNITED KINGDOM 372,835 366,101 +1.8
EUROPEAN UNION (EU27)* 1,453,407 1,562,619 -7.0

The numbers would be much worse if volume markets Germany (+3.4 percent) and UK (+1.8 percent) would not have provided some ups in a down market.

The other volume markets, Italy (-26.7 percent) and France (-23.2 percent) look horrendous.

March EU
    %Share Units Units % Chg
’12 ’11 ’12 ’11 12/11
ALL BRANDS 1,453,407 1,562,619 -7.0
VW Group 23.4 21.5 340,164 335,647 +1.3
VOLKSWAGEN 12.2 11.0 177,505 172,623 +2.8
AUDI 5.6 4.8 80,907 75,544 +7.1
SEAT 2.1 2.3 30,118 35,799 -15.9
SKODA 3.5 3.3 51,331 51,441 -0.2
Others 0.0 0.0 303 240 +26.3
PSA Group 11.1 12.9 161,938 200,845 -19.4
PEUGEOT 6.0 6.9 87,166 107,568 -19.0
CITROEN 5.1 6.0 74,772 93,277 -19.8
RENAULT Group 7.6 8.9 110,757 139,516 -20.6
RENAULT 6.3 7.3 91,344 113,880 -19.8
DACIA 1.3 1.6 19,413 25,636 -24.3
FORD 8.8 8.9 128,580 139,337 -7.7
GM Group 8.8 9.1 127,205 141,963 -10.4
OPEL/VAUXHALL 7.5 7.9 108,844 122,981 -11.5
CHEVROLET 1.3 1.2 18,336 18,949 -3.2
GM (US) 0.0 0.0 25 33 -24.2
FIAT Group 5.5 6.9 79,742 107,955 -26.1
FIAT 4.0 5.1 57,514 79,103 -27.3
LANCIA/CHRYSLER 0.6 0.7 9,157 10,565 -13.3
ALFA ROMEO 0.7 1.0 9,862 15,802 -37.6
JEEP 0.2 0.1 2,648 1,713 +54.6
Others 0.0 0.0 561 772 -27.3
BMW Group 6.2 5.6 90,501 87,807 +3.1
BMW 4.9 4.3 71,542 67,926 +5.3
MINI 1.3 1.3 18,959 19,881 -4.6
DAIMLER 4.9 4.4 71,696 68,727 +4.3
MERCEDES 4.4 3.9 63,787 60,184 +6.0
SMART 0.5 0.5 7,909 8,543 -7.4
TOYOTA Group 4.7 4.5 67,930 69,937 -2.9
TOYOTA 4.4 4.2 64,425 66,085 -2.5
LEXUS 0.2 0.2 3,505 3,852 -9.0
NISSAN 4.2 3.7 60,945 58,458 +4.3
HYUNDAI 3.3 2.7 48,437 42,757 +13.3
KIA 2.4 1.9 34,757 29,449 +18.0
VOLVO 1.7 1.7 24,344 27,278 -10.8
SUZUKI 1.3 1.3 18,938 20,941 -9.6
JAGUAR LAND ROVER Group 1.4 1.1 20,734 16,605 +24.9
LAND ROVER 1.1 0.8 16,570 12,702 +30.4
JAGUAR 0.3 0.2 4,164 3,903 +6.7
MAZDA 1.4 1.3 20,251 20,661 -2.0
HONDA 1.3 1.6 18,864 24,712 -23.7
MITSUBISHI 0.6 0.8 8,897 12,852 -30.8
OTHER 1.3 1.1 18,727 17,172 +9.1

On the manufacturer front, FIAT loses 26.1 percent, PSA 19.4 percent, and Renault 20.6 percent. All the while in Germany, Volkswagen adds 1.3 percent, BMW increases EU sales by 3.1 percent, Daimler by 4.3 percent.

No such luck at GM (- 10.4 percent) and Ford (-7.7 percent.)

Data can be downloaded  here as PDF and here as Excel document.


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EU Carmakers Rattle Sabers, Want Money, Accept Hyundai Fri, 10 Jun 2011 21:14:16 +0000  

The heads of the European automobile industry are assembling in London for their annual European Automobile Manufacturers’ Association meeting. While they were there, they dropped in with UK’s Prime Minister David Cameron to talk a little politics. Norbert Reithofer of BMW, Sergio Marchionne of Fiat, Carlos Ghosn of Renault, Nick Reilly of GM Europe and their leader Dieter Zetsche, president of the association and chief of Daimler, asked for assistance with fair free trade with major economies such as India and Japan, government support for the swift introduction of breakthrough technologies and less bureaucracy through lean regulations. All noble goals. But the BBC found a fly in the ointment:

“The European motor industry has called for non-European governments to scale back assistance for their own automotive industries.

But at the same time, they say they want more government support at home.”

Government support for the swift introduction of breakthrough technologies” is a thinly veiled plea for government money to fund (allegedly) research into EVs. Zetsche told Cameron that Europe’s automakers invest over €30 billion into R&D each year. (His ACEA say it’s “over €26 billion, but who wants to quibble about a little change.) And what about a little government help?

“Fair free trade with major economies such as India and Japan,” is likewise easily breakable code. “The Indian market was effectively closed to European car makers due to high tariffs and excise duties,” the association’s Secretary General Ivan Hodac told the Wall Street Journal. The same day, BMW announced a GBP500 million ($812 million) investment into its Mini plant in Oxford. So it was a good time to ask for some reciprocity.

Complaining about trade barriers in Japan (where the custom duty on cars is zero) was a little mistimed, considering that the day before, Ghosn’s Nissan said it would invest GBP192 million in the U.K. to design, engineer and build the next version of the Qashqai.

China wasn’t mentioned. China charges 25 percent duty, but business with China doesn’t give European automakers reason to complain.

At the meeting, the General Assembly of the European Automobile Manufacturers’ Association did at least on good deed: They accepted Hyundai as a card-carrying member. To qualify for association membership, one must have production in Europe. Hyundai has plants in Slovakia and the Czech Republic. Hyundai tried for years to get accepted to the exclusive club, but were repeatedly rebuffed. Now finally, the association welcomed “Hyundai in our midst and are convinced the company will make a valuable contribution to the work of our association”, said Ivan Hodac.



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Hyundai: Look, We’re European! Thu, 04 Mar 2010 09:24:22 +0000

While Toyota is trying to convince the American public that they’re as American as losing at hockey Wal-Mart, Hyundai is pulling the same stunt over at the other side of the pond. Forbes reports that Hyundai wants to become a card carrying member of the European Automobile Manufacturers’ Association (ACEA).

Founded in 1991, the snooty Association des Constructeurs Européens d’Automobiles represents “the interests of the fifteen European car, truck and bus manufacturers at EU level,” as the ACEA website says. And they take the “European” seriously when a new member applies.  Theoretically, having a plant that makes entire cars in Europe suffices. But then, why are only Ford, GM and Toyota members? Ford and GM had been in Europe longer than Volkswagen. Toyota had to apply several times, and invest €6b in Europe, until they were finally admitted in 2007.

“We want to demonstrate our European credentials,” said Allan Rushforth, Vice President of Hyundai Europe. Hyundai thinks they qualify with their plants in Slovakia and the Czech Republic. An ACEA spokesperson, Sigrid de Vries said that Hyundai’s application would be considered but not before June – that’s when the new member committee meets.

Not everyone will welcome the South Koreans with open arms. European carmakers aren’t exactly happy at the European Union’s planned free trade agreement with South Korea. ACEA is worried the deal could lead to a flood of low-cost cars assembled in South Korea from cheaper parts from other parts of Asia, i.e. China. The deal needs EU government and European Parliament backing, and the ACEA will bring its lobbying might to bear against it. A Korean nose under the tent would be a bit distracting – non?

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European Car Sales, January 2010: The Good, The Bad, And the Ugly Tue, 16 Feb 2010 10:51:02 +0000

Europe’s ACEA, the Association des Constructeurs Européens d’Automobiles, better known as the European Automobile Manufacturers Association, has finally gotten around to tallying new car sales in Europe for the month of January. Europe as defined by the ACEA consists of the EU states, plus the three EFTA holdouts, Iceland, Norway and Switzerland.

First, the good news: January new passenger car registrations in Europe increased by 12.9 percent. With the exception of Germany (-4.3 percent,) the larger markets are all sputtering along nicely: France (+14.3 percent), Spain (+18.1 percent), the UK (+29.8 percent) and Italy (+30.2 percent). In total, 1,058,868 new cars were registered in Europe.

On the market share front, the Volkswagen Group maintains to be the king of the European hill with a 20.6 percent share. Next up are PSA (14 percent) and Renault (10.7 percent). The French are getting frisky: Renault added an impressive 3.1 percent to its January market share, PSA 0.6 percent. Now for the bad news:

As we are comparing with carmageddon numbers, anything better than absolutely awful will look like growth. The graph on the side is testament to that. In January 2009, European car sales had come to a practical standstill. Compared to January 2009, European car sales may be up by 12.9 percent. Compared to January 2008, registrations are down by 17.3 percent.

Next observation: The absolutely horrendous January 2009 numbers prompted most Western European governments to inject massive amounts of amphetamines in the market, in the form of cash for clunker money. These programs had varying vigor and effect, some came sooner, some later. Some have been withdrawn. Some are being phased out. Anyway, the syringes of the states prodded Europe back into plus territory in mid summer. Sales culminated in a growth of 26.9 percent in November last year. (Careful, November 2009 already compared with a post-Lehmann November 2008.)

The fleet renewal programs being withdrawn out all over Europe, the Old Country is falling back into the new normal. You will most likely see another percentage growth in February, which compares to a February 2009 that was as scary as January 2009. Beginning in late spring, you will see headlines announcing that the sky is falling in Europe. By that time, we will compare with numbers that would never had survived doping probes if this would be popular sport. The summer 2009 numbers in most of Europe were high as the proverbial kites, driven up by “Abwrackprämien,” “cash for bangers,” “Verschrottungsprämien” or whatever the drug was called in the respective country. You will see headlines announcing double digit declines. Ignore them, like you should ignore the pleadings of a junkie that goes through detox.

No matter what you will read, the sky will not come down – at least not all the way. The market will simply settle into its new normal, especially when the pull forward effects of the scrapping schemes have been digested.

One indication of what the new normal may be: In a separate report, ACEA says that between January and September 2009, automotive production in Europe has decreased by 26 percent compared to pre-crisis levels in 2008 and 2007. That capacity is sitting idle and something (we are looking at you, Opel) must go. And if all else fails, look for Abwrackprämie II.

One more thing: In Europe, the median age of a new car buyer is somewhere between 40 and 60, depending on car and country. There is a bulge of that age group that drove European car sales at the beginning of the new millennium, and that fuelled the drive to more upscale models as buyers get older and more affluent. This bulge is slowly heading towards retirement. Blame it on the pill, but birth rates often halved in European countries when 1970 came around. The babies that weren’t made back when are now sorely missed in the showrooms. Most likely, if we look back in a few years, we’ll see that Europe’s new car sales have peaked in 2007.

Note: The reports can be downloaded as PDF, or as an Excel file. The Excel file contains manufacturer data. Also, beginning in 2010, the ACEA is no longer reporting the Western and Eastern EU countries separately, but lists them as one happy (more or less) family. Which reminds me of the years after Germany’s reunification. The formerly East German states were referred to as the “new states.” People in the East retaliated and called the former West Germany the “used states.”

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