Europe In May 2010: Dive! Dive! Dive!

Bertel Schmitt
by Bertel Schmitt

Batten hatches! Europe is on an emergency dive. According to data just released by the ACEA, sales in May dropped by 9.3 percent compared to May 2009. Our Ford canary in the EU coal mine was right again: May numbers were worse than April numbers. In April, the EU market had been down 7.4 percent. But that’s not the worst part.

europe in may 2010 dive dive dive

The really bad part is that May 2010 was the worst May in eight years, as the picture above illustrates in unabashed cruelty.

Growth in Europe is at an all-time low. Since November 2009, it has been going downhill, interrupted only in March due to expiring cash-for-clunker programs. As government support is being withdrawn, Europe has a communal case of cold turkey.

Country Ranking EU27, May 2010

MayMay% ChgRank’10’0910/09 %GERMANY1249,708384,578-35.1FRANCE2186,268210,442-11.5ITALY3163,700189,878-13.8UNITED KINGDOM4153,095134,858+13.5SPAIN5102,87371,160+44.6BELGIUM647,72537,976+25.7NETHERLANDS737,10730,857+20.3AUSTRIA829,05729,732-2.3POLAND***925,63825,326+1.2SWEDEN1024,99418,215+37.2PORTUGAL1119,23213,113+46.7CZECH REPUBLIC1215,88514,277+11.3DENMARK1312,1749,342+30.3GREECE1411,92825,997-54.1FINLAND1510,7017,237+47.9IRELAND168,6775,086+70.6ROMANIA178,65711,475-24.6SLOVENIA185,5514,778+16.2LUXEMBURG195,1584,479+15.2SLOVAKIA204,9308,469-41.8HUNGARY213,3884,512-24.9BULGARIA221,2912,173-40.6ESTONIA23769669+14.9LITHUANIA24658671-1.9LATVIA25344356-3.4EU 271,129,5081,245,656-9.3

In the country ranking, everything is back to what we were used to. Germany leads, with France, Italy, and the UK to follow. All with heavy losses. The only serious dislocation is in Spain with a 44.6 percent plus. Wait for the loud bang when that comes down.

Manufacturer Ranking EU27, May 2010

May%ShareUnitsUnits% ChgRank’10’09’10’0910/09 %ALL BRANDS1,129,5081,245,656-9.3VW Group122.121.8249,100271,467-8.2PSA Group213.913.3157,257166,012-5.3RENAULT Group310.59.0118,631112,058+5.9FORD Group49.49.9106,485122,711-13.2GM Group58.39.493,947116,559-19.4FIAT Group67.99.288,900114,937-22.7BMW Group75.55.161,57763,313-2.7DAIMLER85.24.958,68161,514-4.6TOYOTA Group93.94.643,79056,922-23.1NISSAN102.72.030,03525,478+17.9HYUNDAI112.52.327,70228,865-4.0KIA121.91.621,30320,279+5.0MAZDA131.31.114,30713,444+6.4HONDA141.31.514,19118,807-24.5SUZUKI151.21.714,08220,885-32.6JLR Group160.70.57,8296,080+28.8MITSUBISHI170.50.75,8998,407-29.8CHRYSLER180.30.33,3804,170-18.9OTHER1.11.112,41213,748-9.7

In the ranking of manufacturers, Volkswagen is still the unassailable king of the European hill. Their market share strengthened a bit, from 22.1 percent in April to 22.6 percent in May. Renault gains more than 1 percent in market share and bumps Ford from the podium. Daimler gains impressive 1.2 percent in market share and kicks Toyota off place 8. No major developments in the peanut gallery.

Manufacturer Ranking EU27, Jan-May 2010

January – May%ShareUnitsUnits% ChgRank’10’09’10’0910/09 %ALL BRANDS5,943,0965,833,487+1.9VW Group121.021.41,247,3601,247,365-0.0PSA Group213.912.9825,652751,767+9.8RENAULT Group310.58.6623,881499,589+24.9FORD Group410.310.3612,790603,300+1.6GM Group58.49.3499,182540,081-7.6FIAT Group68.39.2490,648534,552-8.2BMW Group74.94.7292,752271,946+7.7DAIMLER84.44.7264,364272,730-3.1TOYOTA Group94.35.0256,872292,240-12.1NISSAN102.82.1164,995123,686+33.4HYUNDAI112.62.3153,325134,887+13.7KIA121.91.6110,60992,249+19.9MAZDA131.41.883,452104,668-20.3HONDA141.41.881,747106,600-23.3SUZUKI151.31.580,03186,750-7.7JLR Group160.70.641,91334,242+22.4MITSUBISHI170.60.835,08843,865-20.0CHRYSLER180.30.417,10621,337-19.8OTHER1.01.261,32971,634-14.4

Lastly, the situation for the first five months. It will be interesting to watch Renault battle with Ford, GM duke it out with Fiat, and the odd race between Toyota and Daimler.

In the next months, the situation will look worse. The cash-for-clunker Dexedrine needs to work itself out of the veins and markets, and it will be very, very ugly. Keep that klaxon close.

If you haven’t enough of bad news, all data can be downloaded as PDF, and if you want to crunch numbers and grit teeth, as Excel table.

Join the conversation
2 of 18 comments
  • Dimwit Dimwit on Jun 15, 2010

    So what is different in Spain and Portugal? Seat? And what has Renault done right? All new lineup? Major refresh? Massive pricedrops? Does anyone know what the average age of the lineups are for the manus? I'm working on the assumption that the oldest fleets are the ones with the greatest losses.

  • Charly Charly on Jun 15, 2010

    Weird that Belgium outsells Holland even though its population is only 2/3

  • Arthur Dailey I grew up in an era when a teenager could work pumping gas or bussing tables and be able to purchase a vehicle for a couple of thousand dollars and drive it with 'uninsured' status.If a parent advised on the purchase of the vehicle, they would most often point us to a large, stripped/base version, domestic sedan with the smallest possible engine.These cars generally had terrible driving dynamics and little to no safety features, but were easy to work, had large bench seats/interiors and not enough power to get out of their own way.
  • MaintenanceCosts I'll guess: 3rd owner, never did even basic maintenance, major component failed, car got towed from the apartment complex parking lot, no one bought it at auction because the repair bill exceeded the value.The chrome pillar appliques support this hypothesis.
  • MaintenanceCosts I'm generally in the "I want them to have all the new safety stuff" camp, but new cars are both too fast and too isolating these days. They mask speed enough that a new driver can get way in over his head without really realizing he's even going that fast. This is especially a concern with my youngest, who wants to do everything he does faster. (He has zero fear tearing down hills at 25 mph on his little 20" wheel bike.) I'm hoping for something that is slow and communicates speed well, although I'm not quite sure there is any such thing in today's market.
  • KOKing I test-drove a used Equus Ultimate (the one with all the back seat doodads) that was a trade-in at a Ford dealer, and although it was VERY nice to be in as a Lexus LS with Ultra Luxury, it was supposedly in a minor fender-bender that probably wasn't repaired correctly (like a pinched bus cable or something?), and random features didn't work at all.I think this car suffered the same problem in the US that the VW Phaeton did, and probably would've done better if it was badged a Genesis from the get-go.
  • Analoggrotto Tesla owners are still smarter than anyone else, regardless.