May Sales: Europe Slowly Stabilizing

Bertel Schmitt
by Bertel Schmitt

European car sales are not out of the woods yet. But they are on the rutted logging road to recovery. That’s the bottom line of the May sales report of the European Automobile Manufacturers’ Association ACEA.

Five months into the year, the European market contracted by 13.9 percent. The May number was relatively benign; just 4.9 percent fewer new units recorded than in the same month in the previous year. The European Automobile Manufacturers Association (ACEA) reports that owners registered 1,270,195 new cars in all of Europe in May.

Put in graphic terms, the European car market as a whole appears to slowly catch up with previous year’s volumes. Country by country, it’s a mixed bag.

In Western Europe, May registrations totaled 1,197,292. Austria (+4.8 percent), Greece (+5.1 percent), France (+11.8 percent) and Germany (+39.7 percent) helped cushion the drop to -3.2 percent.

All of these markets have differing flavors of Euros for clunkers. A new scrappage scheme in Italy limited its downturn to -8.6 percent. In the UK (-24.8 percent) and Spain (-38.7 percent), the announcement of incentive schemes could revitalize the horrid registration figures yet.

Serious bleeding in the new EU member states.

The East is in the reds to the sad tune of -26 percent in May. The downturn ranged from -3.1 percent in Poland to -80.4 percent in Latvia. Only the Czech Republic (+20.5 percent) and Slovakia (+46.4 percent) are posting growth.

As far as market share goes, the big and unassailable winner in Europe is Volkswagen with 21.7 percent (up from 20 percent in ’08) followed, a lap behind, by PSA (13.3 percent), Ford (9.9 percent), GM (9.4 percent), and Fiat (9.3 percent). All except VW and Fiat lost market share.

Click here if you want the facts, and nothing but, by country, by brand, graphed and tabulated. For your inner spreadsheet-artist, here are the numbers in Excel.

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=""> Tomoko </a>. Bertel Schmitt is a founding board member of the <a href=""> Offshore Super Series </a>, an American offshore powerboat racing organization. He is co-owner of the racing team Typhoon.

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  • Bertel Schmitt Bertel Schmitt on Jun 16, 2009

    Bluecon: Could you do me a favor? Could you please send me an email or give me a call the day (or a week) before you think the big crash will happen? I will roll all my money into index funds then. 75% Chinese A shares and 25% S&P 500. I'll give you 5% of the gains for your trouble.

  • Juniper Juniper on Jun 16, 2009

    And that's why I like cars!!

  • MaintenanceCosts "But your author does wonder what the maintenance routine is going to be like on an Italian-German supercar that plays host to a high-revving engine, battery pack, and several electric motors."Probably not much different from the maintenance routine of any other Italian-German supercar with a high-revving engine.
  • 28-Cars-Later "The unions" need to not be the UAW and maybe there's a shot. Maybe.
  • 2manyvettes I had a Cougar of similar vintage that I bought from my late mother in law. It did not suffer the issues mentioned in this article, but being a Minnesota car it did have some weird issues, like a rusted brake line.(!) I do not remember the mileage of the vehicle, but it left my driveway when the transmission started making unwelcome noises. I traded it for a much newer Ford Fusion that served my daughter well until she finished college.
  • TheEndlessEnigma Couple of questions: 1) who will be the service partner for these when Rivian goes Tits Up? 2) What happens with software/operating system support when Rivia goes Tits Up? 3) What happens to the lease when Rivian goes Tits up?
  • Richard I loved these cars, I was blessed to own three. My first a red beauty 86. My second was an 87, 2+2, with digital everything. My third an 87, it had been ridden pretty hard when I got it but it served me well for several years. The first two I loved so much. Unfortunately they had fuel injection issue causing them to basically burst into flames. My son was with me at 10 years old when first one went up. I'm holding no grudges. Nissan gave me 1600$ for first one after jumping thru hoops for 3 years. I didn't bother trying with the second. Just wondering if anyone else had similar experience. I still love those cars.