Europe in July: Car Sales Slowly Coming Around

Bertel Schmitt
by Bertel Schmitt

As predicted a month ago, European car sales continued their cautious turn-around in July. Eastern Europe is still down (but on the mend), Western Europe, clocked in with a growth of five percent compared to July 2008. Europe as a whole was up 3 percent in July. Here are the highlights:


Western Europe books its five percent plus mostly due the Abwrackprämien-powered German sales. In July, Germany was still on its ballistic trajectory, with an increase of 29.5 percent. Without the German booster rocket, Western Europe would have booked a slight decrease of two percent.

France: up 3 percent; Italy: up 6 percent; and UK books its first increase since April 2008 at 2 percent. Even moribund Spain is slowly coming around: sales dropped only 11 percent after having been pulverized in the months before.

Eastern Europe seems to have bottomed at -21 percent. Slovakia grew 39 percent, Czech Republic 9 percent, and Poland 5 percent. All other Eastern European markets registered double digit losses, Das Autohaus reports.

The Russian market, which was supposed to be the market of the future, is still going to hell in the proverbial hand basket: Down 58 percent in July. Russia now plans their own version of rubles for clunkers. 50,000 rubles (approximately $1600) are scheduled to be handed out to Russians who let go of their lame Lada and buy a new car. Must be Made in Rossiya-Matushka, or Mother Russia to qualify. Expect a WTO complaint.

Usually, these numbers come from the Association des Constructeurs Européens d’Automobiles (ACEA), commonly known as the European Automobile Manufacturers’ Association. However, nos amis at the ACEA took a whole month off. The counting was therefore left to the German Verband der Automobilindustrie (VDA). Expect slight revisions of the data when the ACEA publishes their July & August data on September 15.

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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  • Charly Charly on Aug 15, 2009

    Russia isn't a WTO member

  • Tricky Dicky Tricky Dicky on Aug 17, 2009

    And Russia are very much trying to fudge their WTO membership. Whilst they appear to be playing ball with the WTO membership process, the man with the hand inside the presidential puppet's umm, glove compartment, Mr. I-Like-Riding-bare-backer-horses-half-naked-Putin, is suggesting Russi joins WTO as part of a customs union with Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan. Which is impossible. And to which the two -stan's both said "Huh?! News to us!". Putin wants to play fast and loose with trade rules. He likes the ones he writes himself as they can be updated whenever it is convenient. International accountability is not what he is seeking. The Russian auto-industry is breathing it's last gasps of air and is desperate for rescue by a heroic figure (maybe one who arrives on horseback, stripped to the waist)??!

  • Stephen My "mid-level" limited edition Tonino Lambo Ferraccio Junior watch has performed flawlessly with attractive understated style for nearly 20 years. Their cars are not so much to my taste-- my Acura NSX is just fine. Not sure why you have such condescension towards these excellent timepieces. They are attractive without unnecessary flamboyance, keep perfect time and are extremely reliable. They are also very reasonably priced.
  • Dana You don’t need park, you set auto hold (button on the console). Every BMW answers to ‘Hey, BMW’, but you can set your own personal wake word in iDrive. It takes less than 5 minutes to figure that that out, btw. The audio stays on which is handy for Teams meetings. Once your phone is out of range, the audio is stopped on the car. You can always press down on the audio volume wheel which will mute it, if it bothers you. I found all the controls very intuitive.
  • ToolGuy Not sure if I've ever said this, or if you were listening:• Learn to drive, people.Also, learn which vehicles to take home with you and which ones to walk away from. You are an adult now, think for yourself. (Those ads are lying to you. Your friendly neighborhood automotive dealer, also lying to you. Politicians? Lying to you. Oh yeah, learn how to vote lol.)Addendum for the weak-minded who think I am advocating some 'driver training' program: Learning is not something you do in school once for all time. Learning how to drive is not something that someone does for you. It is a continuous process driven by YOU. Learn how to learn how to drive, and learn to drive. Keep on learning how to drive. (You -- over there -- especially you, you kind of suck at driving. LOL.)Example: Do you know where your tires are? When you are 4 hours into a 6 hour interstate journey and change lanes, do you run over the raised center line retroreflective bumpers, or do you steer between them?
  • Mike Bradley Advertising, movies and TV, manufacturing, and car culture have all made speeding and crashing the ultimate tests of manhood. Throw in the political craziness and you've got a perfect soup of destruction and costs.
  • Lou_BC Jay Leno had said that EV's would be good since they could allow the continued existence of ICE cars for enthusiasts. That sentiment makes sense. Many buyers see vehicles as a necessary appliance.
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