European Car Sales Down 12.3 Percent in April

Bertel Schmitt
by Bertel Schmitt
european car sales down 12 3 percent in april

The fat lady of ACEA (European Auto Manufacturers Association) has sung her aria of April auto acquisitions. If you just want the skinny (as opposed to the fat): sales in all of Europe are down 12.3 percent compared to April 2008. Four months into 2009, the market decrease amounts to 15.9 percent. Compared to the carmageddon elsewhere, this ain’t so bad. A closer look reveals a mixed bag of surprising champs and walking dead.

First off, if Europe were counted as a whole (as it should, given that it mostly has a common currency, common borders, and common commissars in Brussels calling the shots), Europe would by far be the largest auto market in the universe, outdistancing the contracting USA and upstart China by a huge margin. But for some unfathomable reason, industry-types and their media lackeys insist on counting the European countries separately, and we shall leave it at that.

Saturated Western Europe surprised analysts by falling only 11.6 percent in April, while the new EU member states in the East, widely seen as a growth market, cratered by 21.4 percent.

Robust cash4clunker programs lifted April sales in Austria (+12.8 percent) and Germany (+19.4 percent). Countries with meeker shredding schemes got away with single digit decreases: France (-7.1 percent), Italy (-7.5 percent) and Luxembourg (-8.5 percent). British and Spanish registrations fell by 24.0 percent and 45.6 percent respectively. In the near dead category, Iceland leads with -88.4 percent, followed by Ireland (-66.7 percent) and Finland (-52.1 percent).

In the new EU Member States, gains in Poland (+2.4 percent), the Czech Republic (+19.0 percent) and Slovakia (+43.5 percent) were off-set by Hungary (-51.5 percent), Romania (-51.8 percent) and others.

Brand-wise, Chrysler-loving Fiat recorded the only plus, with a five percent gain. Volkswagen lost a negligible 2.3 percent while boosting its European market share to 22.6 percent, far outdistancing PSA (which has a 12.8 percent share of the European market).

Those “in the know” had predicted that ToMoCo would gain from the cash4clunkers bonanza. Nope. They took it in the shorts with a -22.8 percent sales decrease in April.

Luxury cars are still a hard sell: Daimler (-26.6 percent) and BMW (-31.1 percent). European buyers shun brands in trouble: Chrysler (-54.4 percent), SAAB (-60.4 percent) and imported GM gear (-63.7 percent). GM as a whole is doing slightly better than the market, “boasting” a -10.8 percent decrease. If you want the stats in all their bloody and gory detail, download them here.

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  • Charly Charly on May 15, 2009

    kevin, American states are also "sovereign" and the law/rules are probably more uniform in the Euro zone than in US, but the mediamarket is on the other hand less unified UK also include also some of the island outside England +Wales + Scotland + Northern Ireland EFTA = Iceland, Norway, Switserland and Liechtenstein. Totally independent state that just have to follow EU rules and pay into the EU budget. And following EU rules means really following EU rules and not like normal EU countries follow it (somewhat)

  • Hal Hal on May 18, 2009

    What Tom said is correct. UK is "The United Kingdom of Great Britain & Northern Ireland. Isle of Man and Channel Islands are "crown dependencies" not part of the UK and not in the EU. Likewise British Overseas Territories (Bermuda, the Caymans, the Falklands etc) are not part of the UK but are territories ruled by the UK.

  • Ollicat I have a Spyder. The belt will last for many years or 60,000-80,000 miles. Not really a worry.
  • Redapple2 Cadillac and racing. Boy those 2 go together dont they? What a joke. Up there with opening a coffee shop in NYC. EvilGM be clowning. Again.
  • Jbltg Rear bench seat does not match the front buckets. What's up?
  • Theflyersfan The two Louisville truck plants are still operating, but not sure for how much longer. I have a couple of friends who work at a manufacturing company in town that makes cooling systems for the trucks built here. And they are on pins and needles wondering if or when they get the call to not go back to work because there are no trucks being made. That's what drives me up the wall with these strikes. The auto workers still get a minimum amount of pay even while striking, but the massive support staff that builds components, staffs temp workers, runs the logistics, etc, ends up with nothing except the bare hope that the state's crippled unemployment system can help them keep afloat. In a city where shipping (UPS central hub and they almost went on strike on August 1) and heavy manufacturing (GE Appliance Park and the Ford plants) keeps tens of thousands of people employed, plus the support companies, any prolonged shutdown is a total disaster for the city as well. UAW members - you're not getting a 38% raise right away. That just doesn't happen. Start a little lower and end this. And then you can fight the good fight against the corner office staff who make millions for being in meetings all day.
  • Dusterdude The "fire them all" is looking a little less unreasonable the longer the union sticks to the totally ridiculous demands ( or maybe the members should fire theit leadership ! )