Autumn Leaves In Europe: Sales Fall Like Mad

Bertel Schmitt
by Bertel Schmitt
autumn leaves in europe sales fall like mad

European car buyers show solidarity and join the worldwide buyers’ strike. November sales in the EU fell 26 percent to 932,500 units, Automobilwoche (sub) reports. That, people, makes the EU the world’s largest car market. And we aren’t even counting “light trucks” here. Western Europe sank 26 percent to 854,700 cars. For the year, Western Europe is down 8 percent. Biggest losers: Spain (-50 percent,) UK (-37 percent,) Italy (-30 percent.) Even the new EU countries, previously the only places where there was growth, are no longer immune. Except for Poland (+11 percent) und the Czech Republic (+2 percent,) sales are down everywhere. Rumania even imploded to the thumping tune of minus 53 percent. Car sales in the new EU countries are down 23 percent to 77.800 cars. Nobody is an island, even Central Europe ain’t.

As far as brands go, GM is the biggest percentage loser with -37.5 percent. They sold 76.383 units in November, their market share shrunk from 9.7% to 8,2%. Toyota lost a third of their sales, their market share is down to 4.7 percent from 5.2 percent. Ford gets a gold star. They lost only 19.6 percent and increased their market share from 9.5 percent to 10.3 percent. And it gets worse …

Luxury cars is definitely not the place to be. BMW lost 30.9 percent in sales, their market share is down to 5.4 percent from formerly 5.9 percent. Daimler is down 24.5 percent, their market share increased slightly from 5.7 to 5.8 percent. Volkswagen lost 17.4 percent with 213.196 units sold, but their market share in Europe rose to 22.9 percent from 20.5 in the month before.

Looking to the US, Europe can find solace in the fact that they are the biggest auto market in the world (if the statisticians would only start seeing it the same way.) Their drop in sales is much less than in the US. And if you drop a little less hard than the other guys, your share of the dwindling market rises. If you have a way with presenting your statistics, it doesn’t all have to be bad.

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  • Andrichrose Andrichrose on Dec 16, 2008

    When I first went to live in Spain in the early 1990s very few people had new cars , most of the cars on the road were from the seventies or before , towards the end of the 90s it all changed to the point where to see a car more than 10 years old is rare . Most cars were bought on credit over 5 or so years , and the salaries being much lower than say the UK or Germany eliminates the ability to upgrade . So when things get a little strained, as of late , demand falls dramatically , and I am surprised it is only 50% , I think next year will be much worse in this market ! Here in Northern Italy it does seem to be a little better , however it does seem that the only strength in the market is in small cars , the Fiat 500 is very popular along with the new Alfa Romeo Mito . The air is very polluted here living as we do close to the southern side of the Alps , and I think people are starting to get the message that large cars are a unsustainable choice, that and the fact that our gas price was hovering around the $10 a gallon mark in the summer !

  • TaxedAndConfused TaxedAndConfused on Dec 17, 2008

    @Bertel Schmitt Company cars are big business. They are taxed in the UK as additional pay and not "optimised" Look at my user name and ask how I know ;-)

  • Tassos those 90s pathetic orange pixels are inexcusably lame in a 2010.The interior is filled with Grey Rubbermaid plastic and the tiny sliver of real or fake wood is an utterly pathetic attempt to pretend it's upscale (don't even THINK of "Luxury")Merc SLs with similar metal retractable roofs look so much better inside and out.Regardless of what you paid for this way undepowered near-luxury pretend-sports car, you would have done so much better with a PORSCHE BOXSTER...
  • Dukeisduke That's a cool picture (the one under the bridge) - where was it taken? Google Image Search doesn't turn up any matches.
  • Dukeisduke Okay, yeah, they should fix this, but, "URGENT: DO NOT DRIVE THIS VEHICLE"? I think we're reaching Peak Idiocracy.
  • MaintenanceCosts This is a great review, and very accurate from my perspective as the owner of a closely related, but longer and taller, E93 335i convertible. So much in this review is familiar. Here are the things that are a bit different about the 335i:[list][*]My car is a manual. Shifter action is good, with positive engagement, although a bit more play and rubbery feeling in the shifter than you would get with, say, a six-speed Honda. The clutch is a bit disappointing. It has a "clutch dampening valve" intended to protect against the most abusive clutch dumps. The valve throws my timing off a bit and I have had a hard time learning to drive this car with perfect smoothness, especially in the 1-2 shift. I may remove the valve at some point.[/*][*]My car has the turbo (in single-turbo N55 form). On the plus side, you get what feels like significantly more power than the rated 300 hp once on the boost, and even in fully stock form you get entertaining whooshing noises from the blowoff valve. On the minus side, there is some turbo lag, more than you get in many modern turbo cars, and fuel economy is, well, not close to what Corey is getting. The turbo car also comes with an active exhaust system that is extremely quiet when puttering while making some nice inline-six noise at wide-open throttle.[/*][*]There are back seats! I have a nine-year-old and a six-year-old. The six-year-old fits perfectly. The nine-year-old still fits, but that will likely change within the next three years. These seats are not usable for adults unless the front-seat occupants squeeze forward more than normal. E92 coupes are slightly roomier in back, and E90 sedans are substantially roomier.[/*][*]My car has the M Sport suspension, which does not have variable dampers. It's firm enough that I have to be careful to avoid even small holes on city streets if I don't want to get jarred. But if you can avoid the holes it feels good, navigating expansion joints and such without uncomfortable impact, while maintaining impressive body control for a porky 3900-pound convertible.[/*][*]My car has iDrive and a screen, as well as parking sensors. But it does not have a backup camera. Graphics on the screen are pretty good by 2011 standards, which is to say not acceptable by modern standards, but the system is easy enough to navigate and works pretty well. I prefer the rotary controller to a touch screen for fingerprint reasons.[/*][*]The parking sensors are by far the best of any car I've ever owned, and they are so accurate I really don't need a camera. The sensors go to a solid beep when the appropriate end is about 4" from an object, and I can comfortably cover about half that distance with no fear of bumping. They also project legimately useful graphics on the iDrive screen showing where the object is. I park in tight city settings enough that I really appreciate the accuracy. Also in the city parking mold, my car has power folding mirrors, which I wish every car would.[/*][*]Like you, I have the mid-level "Hi-Fi Professional" stereo setup, but in the four-seat convertible there is not a dedicated subwoofer. Bass is a bit on the weak side. Sound quality is about comparable with the JBL system in my Toyota Highlander, which is to say it's good enough for listening in the car but is not going to impress anyone.[/*][*]There are small leaks from the joints between the top and the A-pillars in my car. They won't soak the interior, but they will result in a few drops of water on the front seats after a hard rain. I'm still experimenting to see if regular applications of rubber protectant can restore the seals enough to eliminate the leaks. There are no leaks from any other part of the top mechanism.[/*][*]I've only owned the car for about eight months and 1500 miles, but so far nothing has broken and every feature on the car works correctly. A purchase-time inspection found only an incorrectly secured fan shroud and no other problems, and there is a mostly complete service history, so this was a well-maintained car to start with.[/*][/list]
  • Lou_BC This offer reminds me of those plans where you get something free but if you fail to cancel prior to the expiry of the "Free" plan you end up on the hook for a lengthy contract. Tesla wants to attract people to their electrical company. It's smart. Make money selling the car, make money with subscription services on the car, and make money selling the fuel to power the car at home and at charging stations.