The European automobile market may be pulling out of its six year sales slump, according to Automotive News, with new car registrations in Germany up 7% in January from last year, joined by France, Italy and Spain reporting year to year increases for the month. German new car sales for the month were 206,000, the third monthly gain out of the past four months and the best monthly percentage improvement since September 2011. Analysts caution, though, that the growth in the German market was in part due to discounting.
However, industry executives and analysts warned that underlying demand may not be robust as Germany’s growth was in part attributable to generous price discounts. Ernst-Robert Nouvertne, who operates two Volkswagen stores near Cologne, said “Incentives are the name of the game. Headline sales are looking good but profit per car is crumbling. The (German) market is still pretty strained.” (Read More…)
The all-electric future creeps upon us all steadily, from Tesla’s luxury offerings more appropriate for New York Fashion Week, to Nissan’s electric blue and white jelly beans moving eco-conscious families to Whole Foods and Trader Joe’s.
Speaking of Nissan, the automaker has decided to unleash the e-Nv200 upon the streets of Europe in 2014, with both fleet and private sales in mind.
The Spanish government is extending its own version of “Cash for Clunkers” for the fourth time, as Spain tries to boost sagging car sales in the midst of a severe recession.
Amid labor unrest in Korea, and a desire to utilize capacity in Europe, GM is moving production of the Opel Mokka (aka, the Buick Encore, and Canada’s Chevrolet Trax) out of Korea and into a facility in Zaragoza, Spain.
European SEAT sales showed new signs of life lately, but the vital stats of Volkswagen’s Mediterranean brand still are weak enough for doctors to recommend a lot of rest. SEAT recommends to have workers stay at home an extra day of each week, Reuters writes.
According to the wire, SEAT “wants to halt production for 16 days on one of its lines, between September and December, affecting 2,800 workers, and stop production for 35 days next year on another line, affecting 3,800 workers.” (Read More…)
In America, government bailouts of ailing car companies are (at least in some circles) viewed as an inalienable right. In the EU, government aid generally is forbidden by law. Ironically, Ford, the only un-bailed-out Detroit company, now is in collision with these quaint continental regulations. (Read More…)
Some of TTAC’s readers have made it absolutely clear that they cannot abide it when I pick on Red Bull’s Mark Webber. So let’s say something nice about the man: he made up for
his usual an unexpectedly poor start to finish in fifth place, just behind his teammate, Sebastian Vettel. If you’re a Mark Webber fan, now would be a good time to feel good about the whole thing and look forward to the next race.
Everybody else should click the jump.
Yet another bit of bleak data from Europe relating to new car sales. A popular school of thought holds that young people’s aversion to cars is largely rooted in economic factors. When everyone under 30 is broke, living at home and wallowing in student debt, the last thing on their mind is a car. But the hope is that once things turn around, it will be time for Generation Y to get motoring again. At least in North America. Over in Europe (or certain parts of it, at least) things are much more bleak.
If anyone is hoping for a turn-around of the European car market, be it Opel, PSA, or Pch101, January definitely was not the month it happened. Some people, who get paid a lot of money for a very long-term vision, believe we have to wait years for the turn-around. The French car market dropped 15 percent in January, with “Volkswagen and U.S. carmakers leading the drop,” Reuters reports. Massive sales subsidies of 2,000 euros ($2,700) per car, reintroduced in October in Spain, could not reverse the Spanish market. It dropped 9.6 percent. (Read More…)