Europe February Sales: The Good, The Bad, And The Basket Cases

Bertel Schmitt
by Bertel Schmitt

The European Automobile Manufacturers’ Association (ACEA) has released their February numbers, Reuters reports. European new car registrations fell 18.3 percent in February, says the ACEA. That’s much better than the 41.3 percent decline the USA suffered in the same month. But it could have been worse had it not been for Germany. Here, registrations soared 21.5 percent in February. The only other market in Western Europe to show growth was tiny Luxembourg—up a tiny 0.3 percent

The German market boosted Western Europe’s tally, with “strong demand in certain market segments following the recent motor vehicle tax reform and scrapping bonus introduced by the German government.” France, which also gives cash for clunkers, but only €1K (as opposed to €2.5K in Deutschland) saw a rather benign drop of 13 percent.


Western European car registrations fell 17.3 percent, while new member states saw a 30.3 percent drop.

Iceland put auto purchases on ice, with a drop of 91.2 percent. Crisis-hit Spain was down 48.8 percent, while Italian registrations dropped 24.4 percent and the UK posted a 21.9 percent decrease.

New member states were a mixed bag: Poland registered a 7.3 percent increase on February last year, with 30,194 new cars registered, while Hungary’s registrations dropped 46.4 percent and Romania plunged 66.5 percent.

Across Europe in February, Europe’s largest carmaker, Volkswagen, posted a 10.2 percent drop in new passenger car registrations for the group, while its Spanish Seat brand saw a 31.2 percent fall, and the Volkswagen brand declined by 6.2 percent.

Within Daimler, the Mercedes premium brand posted a 34.2 percent plunge, while Smart car registrations edged up 0.6 percent compared with February 2008 leaving the group as a whole down 29.8 percent.

The PSA Peugeot Citroen group saw new registrations fall by 25.3 percent, while fellow French manufacturer Renault was down 23.1 percent.

Italy’s Fiat posted a 16.5 percent group-wide decline.

GM, whose European brands including Sweden’s Saab and Germany’s Opel are fighting for survival, posted a 21.9 percent drop in February registrations.

For the raw data per brand, click here and ye shall receive.

Bertel Schmitt
Bertel Schmitt

Bertel Schmitt comes back to journalism after taking a 35 year break in advertising and marketing. He ran and owned advertising agencies in Duesseldorf, Germany, and New York City. Volkswagen A.G. was Bertel's most important corporate account. Schmitt's advertising and marketing career touched many corners of the industry with a special focus on automotive products and services. Since 2004, he lives in Japan and China with his wife <a href="http://www.tomokoandbertel.com"> Tomoko </a>. Bertel Schmitt is a founding board member of the <a href="http://www.offshoresuperseries.com"> Offshore Super Series </a>, an American offshore powerboat racing organization. He is co-owner of the racing team Typhoon.

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  • FromBrazil FromBrazil on Mar 13, 2009

    Thanks Mr. Schmitt! And good for Ford and Alfa ... and Hyundai (yikes!)

  • KeithF KeithF on Mar 14, 2009

    How much of Germany's strategy is really just accelerating next year's purchases into this year though? At some point most people will have new-ish cars and the resulting sales slowdown will be worse than now for longer than it would have been. The car companies did this in America with rebates and incentives for years--didn't need the gov't to throw in another paltry $2500. They pulled sales forward and hollowed out future demand (like now) for current demand (2007/2008). Oh well...

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  • Varezhka And why exactly was it that Tesla decided not to coat their stainless steel bodies, again? My old steel capped Volant skis still looks clean without a rust in sight thanks to that metal vapor coating. It's not exactly a new technology.
  • GIJOOOE “Sounds” about as exciting as driving a golf cart, fake gear shifts or not. I truly hope that Dodge and the other big American car makers pull their heads out of the electric clouds and continue to offer performance cars with big horsepower internal combustion engines that require some form of multi gear transmissions and high octane fuel, even if they have to make them in relatively small quantities and market them specifically to gearheads like me. I will resist the ev future for as long as I have breath in my lungs and an excellent credit score/big bank account. People like me, who have loved fast cars for as long as I can remember, need a car that has an engine that sounds properly pissed off when I hit the gas pedal and accelerate through the gears.
  • Kcflyer libs have been subsidizing college for decades. The predictable result is soaring cost of college and dramatic increases in useless degrees. Their solution? More subsidies of course. EV policy will follow the same failed logic. Because it's not like it's their money. Not saying the republicans are any better, they talk a good game but spend like drunken sailors to buy votes just like the libs. The sole function of the U.S. government is to take money from people who earn it and give it away to people who didn't.
  • CecilSaxon Sounds about as smart as VW's "SoundAktor"
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