European New Car Sales: Worst February Of The Millennium

Bertel Schmitt
by Bertel Schmitt
european new car sales worst february of the millennium

Now, it is beginning to hurt: The European new car market crashed in February. According to data released by the European manufacturers’ association ACEA, new car sales were down 9.7 percent in February. Two months into the year, car sales in the EU are down 8.3 percent from the same period a year earlier.

The harmless looking percentages hide the fact that this February was the worst of the millennium. Only 888,878 units changed hands in the EU27 in February, the lowest level since comparing months made sense (going back further is futile, the EU was much smaller then…) Even during carmageddon, Europe had not seen a February as bad as this one.

EU basket cases Greece and Portugal saw their new car sales nearly halved. These are relatively unimportant markets, by now, tiny Luxemburg has more car sales than Greece. If Greece would leave the EU, it would not even register in the car statistics. What hurts much more is the deterioration of the volume markets. France is down 20.2 percent, not boding well for PSA and Renault. Italy is down 18.9 percent, putting pressure on Fiat. Flat sales in Germany spared Europe a double digit tanking.

February %ShareUnitsUnits% Chg’12’11’12’1112/11ALL BRANDS888,878984,010-9.7VW Group23.722.0211,018216,582-2.6VOLKSWAGEN12.911.8114,240116,273-1.7AUDI4.84.543,09344,354-2.8SEAT2.02.117,84620,217-11.7SKODA4.03.635,71135,695+0.0Others0.00.012843+197.7PSA Group13.014.1115,690139,096-16.8PEUGEOT6.77.759,77375,590-20.9CITROEN6.36.555,91763,506-12.0RENAULT Group9.511.384,620111,341-24.0RENAULT7.69.567,36193,129-27.7DACIA1.91.917,25918,212-5.2FORD7.47.366,00171,673-7.9GM Group8.18.572,43784,075-13.8OPEL/VAUXHALL6.57.257,54271,201-19.2CHEVROLET1.71.314,87612,800+16.2GM (US)0.00.01974-74.3FIAT Group7.37.964,90977,943-16.7FIAT5.25.745,88956,330-18.5LANCIA/CHRYSLER1.00.98,8218,567+3.0ALFA ROMEO0.91.17,85511,167-29.7JEEP0.20.12,0791,308+58.9Others0.00.1265571-53.6BMW Group5.34.947,48948,187-1.4BMW4.34.138,08339,894-4.5MINI1.10.89,4068,293+13.4DAIMLER4.94.243,15941,399+4.3MERCEDES4.33.737,96935,946+5.6SMART0.60.65,1905,453-4.8TOYOTA Group3.94.134,89840,726-14.3TOYOTA3.84.033,35839,852-16.3LEXUS0.20.11,540874+76.2NISSAN3.43.429,82233,215-10.2HYUNDAI3.42.929,97328,325+5.8KIA2.51.722,13416,924+30.8VOLVO CAR CORP.1.81.715,63516,579-5.7SUZUKI1.11.410,09613,766-26.7MAZDA0.90.98,3529,294-10.1JAGUAR LAND ROVER Group0.80.46,7864,396+54.4LAND ROVER0.70.45,8083,497+66.1JAGUAR0.10.1978899+8.8HONDA0.81.27,44511,418-34.8MITSUBISHI0.60.95,5868,693-35.7OTHER1.41.112,82810,378+23.6

On the manufacturer front, the Volkswagen Group solidified its leadership. Its market share climbed 1.7 percent to 23.7 percent in February. PSA lost 1.1 percent, Renault lost 1.8 percent, Fiat lost 0.6 percent. These makers not only have maximum exposure to their home markets. They also are heavy in the troubled south of Europe and are weak in developing markets.

The GM Group is holding its own, losing only 0.4 percent of share. A 0.8 percent loss at Opel was buffered by a 0.4 percent gain in market share of Chevrolet. It looks like GM is busy propping up Chevrolet at the expense of Opel/Vauxhall. Two month into the year, Opel’s sales have dropped 20.3 percent, whereas Chevrolet has gained 22 percent.

Toyota and Nissan lose, Hyundai and Kia gain. Hyundai is now in spitting distance from Nissan, and not too far from Toyota.

Full data can be downloaded here as PDF and here as Excel spreadsheet.

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3 of 6 comments
  • Wolfwagen I would rather have an annual inspection that may catch something early or at least the driver can be informed of an impending issue. Government vs private is another issue and unscrupulous mechanics is another.On a slightly different topic is the inspection of salvage or rebuilt cars. In NYS it is strictly to ensure that stolen parts were not used to rebuild the vehicle. I would rather see an inspection to ensure that the vehicle has been properly put back together.
  • PeterPuck For years, Ford has simply reworked existing designs originating from Europe and Japanese manufacturers, not being capable of designing a decent car in the USA.What’s the last clean sheet design from the USA? The 1986 Taurus?And they still can’t manage to get things right.why is this? Are they putting all of the competent engineers and designers on the F150? Is woke diversification affecting them, as some rumours suggest? Are they rewarding incompetence?
  • Brandon What is a "city crossover"?
  • Tassos What was the last time we had any good news from Ford? (or GM for that matter?)The last one was probably when Alan Mulally was CEO. Were you even born back then?Fields was a total disaster, then they go hire this clown from Toyota's PR department, the current Ford CEO, Fart-ley or something.He claims to be an auto enthusiast too (unlike Mary Barra who is even worse, but of course always forgiven, as she is the proud owner of a set of female genitals.
  • Tassos I know some would want to own a collectible Mustang. (sure as hell not me. This crappy 'secretary's car' (that was exactly its intended buying demo) was as sophisticated (transl. : CRUDE) as the FLintstone's mobile. Solid Real Axle? Are you effing kidding me?There is a huge number of these around, so they are neither expensive nor valuable.WHen it came out, it was $2,000 or so new. A colleague bought a recent one with the stupid Ecoboost which also promised good fuel economy. He drives a hard bargain and spends time shopping and I remember he paid $37k ( the fool only bought domestic crap, but luckily he is good with his hands and can fix lots of stuff on them).He told me that the alleged fuel economy is obtained only if you drive it like a VERY old lady. WHich defeats the purpose, of course, you might as well buy a used Toyota Yaris (not even a Corolla).