The Old Country Reports Worst Car Sales In 15 Years

Bertel Schmitt
by Bertel Schmitt
the old country reports worst car sales in 15 years

Europe’s industry association ACEA finally got around to counting 2008 car sales, and there are good news and bad news. The good news is that the news from Europe aren’t half as bad as the news from the U.S. The bad news is that European new passenger car sales fell 7.8 percent in 2008, their sharpest fall for 15 years, Reuters reports.

Like in America, the sharpest drops occurred in the last quarter of 2008, with a 19.3 percent fall in new passenger car registrations compared with the year earlier period. In December car sales fell 17.8 percent year on year across the European region (which includes the 27 EU member states as well as the European Free Trade Association countries, but excludes Cyprus and Malta.) December was the second worst month of the year for the region, as after a 25.8 percent year-on-year fall recorded in November. Like in the U.S. the Q4 numbers don’t augur well for a happy 2009.

Volkswagen posted a 4.4 percent decline in full year sales, Ford 5.2 percent, Renault a 6.9 percent drop, PSA Peugeot Citroen a fall of 9.1 percent and Fiat a drop of 5.5 percent. The bad boys were General Motors (Opel, Vauxhall etc.) with a 13.9 percent fall and Chrysler which was down 22.5 percent. Japan’s Nissan Motor Co was a rare gainer, posting sales 8.8 percent higher year-on-year.

14.7m passenger cars were sold in Europe in 2008, which would place Europe clearly in the top position as a car market – if Europe would be counted as such. Most of Europe has a common currency and common borders, but as cars go, each country is counted separately.

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