Europe Ends The Year With A Bang - On The Nose

Bertel Schmitt
by Bertel Schmitt
europe ends the year with a bang on the nose

New car registrations dropped a painful 16.3 percent in Europe in an acceleration of a long, and initially slow a downward trend . The European carmaker association ACEA calls the decline ”the steepest recorded in a month of December since 2008.” For the year the EU market was down 8.2 percent to 12,053,904 units, which is the “lowest level recorded since 1995,” says the ACEA.

Most of the Europe’s volume markets recorded a double-digit downturn ranging from -14.6 percent in France to -16.4 percent in Germany, -22.5 percent in Italy and -23.0 percent in Spain. The UK was the only volume market to post growth (+3.7 percent).

Industry contacts in Europe explain the acceleration not with a decreasing reluctance to buy cars. “A lot of people stopped buying cars long ago,” said a contact at a large European OEM, “but the dealers continued to buy. This is coming to an end.” He was alluding to the phenomenon of “one day registrations” where dealers buy the car to make their quota and to collect the incentive money, only to put the car up for sale “used” the next day at prices of sometimes 30 percent below list. When sold, these new cars then show up in the used car registration numbers.

In the meantime, supply and production have been adjusted, the bulge has worked itself through the anaconda and has been digested. We can expect sales data that more reflect real buying behavior.

EU New passenger car registrations 2012January – December %ShareUnitsUnits% Chg’12’11’12’1112/11ALL BRANDS**12,053,90413,130,466-8.2VW Group24.723.02,977,4163,026,192-1.6VOLKSWAGEN12.812.31,541,6431,616,483-4.6AUDI5.65.0673,647653,427+3.1SEAT2.12.3251,528296,145-15.1SKODA3.93.5465,341458,209+1.6Others (1)0.40.045,2571,928+2247.4PSA Group11.912.51,431,0631,643,457-12.9PEUGEOT6.46.8774,435889,264-12.9CITROEN5.45.7656,628754,193-12.9RENAULT Group8.59.71,030,3211,273,178-19.1RENAULT6.67.8795,9721,026,736-22.5DACIA1.91.9234,349246,442-4.9GM Group8.28.7984,1771,142,117-13.8OPEL/VAUXHALL6.87.4815,961968,550-15.8CHEVROLET1.41.3167,917173,083-3.0GM (US)0.00.0299484-38.2FORD7.68.0910,3181,048,814-13.2FIAT Group6.57.1779,606929,551-16.1FIAT4.75.1570,980673,401-15.2LANCIA/CHRYSLER0.80.892,446102,122-9.5ALFA ROMEO0.71.086,858125,924-31.0JEEP0.20.225,67322,211+15.6Others (2)0.00.03,6495,893-38.1BMW Group6.45.9767,541781,248-1.8BMW5.14.7614,779618,029-0.5MINI1.31.2152,762163,219-6.4DAIMLER5.35.0633,142652,790-3.0MERCEDES4.74.4565,161575,243-1.8SMART0.60.667,98177,547-12.3TOYOTA Group4.24.0507,731523,909-3.1TOYOTA4.03.8483,131498,384-3.1LEXUS0.20.224,60025,525-3.6NISSAN3.53.4417,636445,826-6.3HYUNDAI3.42.9414,827379,144+9.4KIA2.72.2327,995287,388+14.1VOLVO CAR CORP.1.81.8212,578235,841-9.9SUZUKI1.21.3144,292167,071-13.6HONDA1.11.1133,462142,436-6.3JAGUAR LAND ROVER Group1.00.7120,03395,420+25.8LAND ROVER0.80.696,84772,793+33.0JAGUAR0.20.223,18622,627+2.5MAZDA0.91.0114,208128,721-11.3MITSUBISHI0.60.867,888101,337-33.0OTHER**0.71.079,669126,026-36.8Source: ACEA

For the year, the Volkswagen Group weathered the downturn with only a 1.6 percent loss, and a 1.7 percent gain in Market share. GM, Ford and Fiat had to digest double digit losses, so did PSA and Renault.

EU New passenger car registrations December 2012December %ShareUnitsUnits% Chg’12’11’12’1112/11ALL BRANDS**799,407955,537-16.3VW Group23.323.3186,347222,492-16.2VOLKSWAGEN11.712.693,309120,021-22.3AUDI4.74.837,24745,964-19.0SEAT2.32.318,63721,994-15.3SKODA4.23.633,81134,388-1.7Others (1)0.40.03,343125+2574.4PSA Group11.211.589,710109,666-18.2PEUGEOT6.26.149,69458,276-14.7CITROEN5.05.440,01651,390-22.1RENAULT Group9.39.774,65292,237-19.1RENAULT6.97.755,30073,659-24.9DACIA2.41.919,35218,578+4.2GM Group7.89.062,64086,044-27.2OPEL/VAUXHALL6.57.452,13070,657-26.2CHEVROLET1.31.610,50015,331-31.5GM (US)0.00.01056-82.1FORD6.67.552,47571,884-27.0FIAT Group6.26.349,31160,010-17.8FIAT4.64.536,42442,798-14.9LANCIA/CHRYSLER0.70.85,5297,227-23.5ALFA ROMEO0.60.84,9847,713-35.4JEEP0.30.22,2041,988+10.9Others (2)0.00.0170284-40.1BMW Group7.96.663,17162,993+0.3BMW6.45.150,81049,033+3.6MINI1.51.512,36113,960-11.5DAIMLER5.85.346,51950,965-8.7MERCEDES5.44.842,89345,915-6.6SMART0.50.53,6265,050-28.2TOYOTA Group4.54.836,05145,965-21.6TOYOTA4.44.634,98543,704-20.0LEXUS0.10.21,0662,261-52.9NISSAN3.43.326,99931,104-13.2HYUNDAI4.23.233,33730,177+10.5KIA3.02.323,70222,195+6.8VOLVO CAR CORP.2.21.817,56517,109+2.7SUZUKI1.11.38,54312,325-30.7HONDA1.11.09,0299,630-6.2JAGUAR LAND ROVER Group1.10.98,9128,327+7.0LAND ROVER0.90.77,0236,637+5.8JAGUAR0.20.21,8891,690+11.8MAZDA1.00.87,6957,253+6.1MITSUBISHI0.60.64,6436,191-25.0OTHER-0.20.9-1,8948,970-121.1Source: ACEA

In December, Volkswagen registered similar losses as those of its major competitors. However, a lot of this goes on account of the Golf 7 launch. It had started in November and still hasn’t reached all of Europe. Audi and Seat however also did hurt.

Data are available as Excel file here and as PDF here. A historical series of yearly data, going back until 1990 can be downloaded here.

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4 of 9 comments
  • Bd2 Bd2 on Jan 16, 2013

    Based on the December figures, Hyundai/Kia are getting close to catching up to the combined sales of Toyota and Nissan.

  • 50merc 50merc on Jan 16, 2013

    Sure, sales are a little soft right now, but the long-term future is bright. Europeans are having kids like crazy and there's no end in sight to the population boom. Regulatory hurdles are being swept away. Yes, manufacturers won't be able to keep up with demand!

    • See 1 previous
    • Marjanmm Marjanmm on Jan 17, 2013

      This crisis has shown at least financial industry and banking need much more regulatory hurdles. Yesterday's EU regulation of the rating agencies (otherwise known as the writers of fiction dictated by the rest of the financial industry) may be a step in a right direction. Perhaps next can be the US hedge funds who until the last summer continued to place enormous bets against Euro working at the top of their ability to bring downfall to Eurozone and poverty to so many of its citizens.

  • Jeff S The question is how long will Ford offer the Mustang as a pony car? Dodge is sun setting the Challenger at the end of this year and it is doubtful if the Challenger will come back as an EV. Rumors are the Camaro name will be used on an EV and that will mostly likely be a crossover. There is not enough market for a Detroit muscle or pony car. It is sad to see not only the last of the cars like the Camaro and Challenger go but to see most cars go. Soon this site will have to change its name to The Truth About Trucks (TTAT).
  • Oberkanone Does GM build anything to compete with this? Does GM build any competent hybrids?
  • Dukeisduke So, it'll be invisible, just like all other Gen 6 Camaros?
  • Alterboy21 The gov't has already mandated control of your vehicle. 10 years ago they required cars to have ABS and traction control.I am not sure I agree that automatic breaking is ready for primetime, but taking control of a cars driving behavior is not new ground for the NHTSA. 
  • Parkave231 Collector's Edition hood ornament or GTFO.