By on March 19, 2013

The European car market goes to where it has been going for a while: To the toilet.  February sales in the EU were down 10.5 percent year-on-year. Sales in February were  9.5 percent lower than an already disappointing  January.


Except for the UK (up 7.9 percent), all other European volume markets were down, ranging from -9.8 percent in Spain to -10.5 percent in Germany, -12.1 percent in France and -17.4 percent in Italy.

GM and Ford, both down more than 20 percent, were hit very hard and are the worst performing of the major makers.  Volkswagen is no longer walking on water, and sunk by 7.4 percent.

New Passenger Car Registrations EU, February 2013
February January – February
    %Share     %Share Units Units % Chg     %Share Units Units % Chg
’13 ’12 ’13 ’12 13/12 ’13 ’12 ’13 ’12 13/12
ALL BRANDS** 795,482 889,050 -10.5 1,681,073 1,858,270 -9.5
VW GRP 24.6 23.8 195,608 211,205 -7.4 24.5 23.8 411,566 441,404 -6.8
VOLKSWAGEN 12.9 12.8 102,617 113,858 -9.9 12.6 12.8 211,478 237,609 -11.0
AUDI 5.2 4.8 41,195 42,885 -3.9 5.3 4.9 89,304 91,975 -2.9
SEAT 2.3 2.1 18,415 18,345 +0.4 2.3 2.0 38,004 37,261 +2.0
SKODA 3.9 4.0 31,007 35,990 -13.8 4.0 4.0 66,911 74,226 -9.9
Others (1) 0.3 0.0 2,374 127 +1769.3 0.3 0.0 5,869 333 +1662.5
PSA GRP 12.6 13.0 100,450 115,668 -13.2 12.0 12.8 202,060 237,141 -14.8
PEUGEOT 6.9 6.7 54,542 59,726 -8.7 6.5 6.8 109,388 125,488 -12.8
CITROEN 5.8 6.3 45,908 55,942 -17.9 5.5 6.0 92,672 111,653 -17.0
RENAULT GRP 9.7 9.5 77,414 84,599 -8.5 9.1 8.9 153,540 165,350 -7.1
RENAULT 7.2 7.6 57,377 67,309 -14.8 6.7 7.0 113,275 129,424 -12.5
DACIA 2.5 1.9 20,037 17,290 +15.9 2.4 1.9 40,265 35,926 +12.1
GM GRP 7.2 8.1 57,410 72,309 -20.6 7.5 7.8 125,700 144,395 -12.9
OPEL/VAUXHALL 6.1 6.4 48,258 57,306 -15.8 6.4 6.1 106,868 113,408 -5.8
CHEVROLET 1.1 1.7 9,135 14,973 -39.0 1.1 1.7 18,790 30,903 -39.2
GM (US) 0.0 0.0 17 30 -43.3 0.0 0.0 42 84 -50.0
FIAT GRP 6.9 7.3 54,828 65,087 -15.8 6.8 7.2 114,597 133,177 -14.0
FIAT 5.4 5.2 42,898 46,044 -6.8 5.3 5.1 89,039 94,058 -5.3
LANCIA/CHRYSLER 0.7 1.0 5,434 8,842 -38.5 0.7 1.0 11,574 17,771 -34.9
ALFA ROMEO 0.6 0.9 4,576 7,862 -41.8 0.6 0.9 9,990 16,478 -39.4
JEEP 0.2 0.2 1,766 2,094 -15.7 0.2 0.2 3,575 4,222 -15.3
Others (2) 0.0 0.0 154 245 -37.1 0.0 0.0 419 648 -35.3
FORD 6.5 7.4 51,826 65,591 -21.0 6.7 7.9 112,169 146,226 -23.3
BMW GRP 5.8 5.3 46,361 47,539 -2.5 6.0 5.3 101,337 98,811 +2.6
BMW 4.8 4.3 37,835 38,131 -0.8 5.0 4.3 83,972 79,868 +5.1
MINI 1.1 1.1 8,526 9,408 -9.4 1.0 1.0 17,365 18,943 -8.3
DAIMLER 5.3 4.9 42,364 43,159 -1.8 5.4 4.9 91,588 90,628 +1.1
MERCEDES 4.7 4.3 37,150 37,969 -2.2 4.8 4.3 81,061 79,916 +1.4
SMART 0.7 0.6 5,214 5,190 +0.5 0.6 0.6 10,527 10,712 -1.7
TOYOTA GRP 4.1 4.0 32,550 35,364 -8.0 4.2 4.5 70,456 84,138 -16.3
TOYOTA 4.0 3.8 31,573 33,848 -6.7 4.0 4.3 67,842 79,456 -14.6
LEXUS 0.1 0.2 977 1,516 -35.6 0.2 0.3 2,614 4,682 -44.2
HYUNDAI 3.9 3.4 30,646 30,040 +2.0 3.7 3.4 62,375 62,418 -0.1
NISSAN 3.5 3.4 28,142 30,517 -7.8 3.6 3.5 61,134 65,574 -6.8
KIA 2.7 2.5 21,613 22,134 -2.4 2.7 2.4 44,787 43,743 +2.4
VOLVO 1.7 1.8 13,206 15,890 -16.9 1.7 1.9 28,461 34,459 -17.4
SUZUKI 1.1 1.2 8,943 10,450 -14.4 1.2 1.2 19,356 23,145 -16.4
MAZDA 1.1 1.0 9,072 8,550 +6.1 1.1 0.9 18,795 16,844 +11.6
JLR GRP 0.9 0.8 7,140 6,786 +5.2 1.1 0.9 18,617 16,428 +13.3
LAND ROVER 0.7 0.7 5,937 5,808 +2.2 0.9 0.7 15,383 13,779 +11.6
JAGUAR 0.2 0.1 1,203 978 +23.0 0.2 0.1 3,234 2,649 +22.1
HONDA 1.1 0.8 8,981 7,442 +20.7 1.1 0.9 18,383 15,977 +15.1
MITSUBISHI 0.5 0.6 4,247 5,657 -24.9 0.5 0.7 8,707 12,871 -32.4
OTHER** 0.6 1.2 4,681 11,063 -57.7 1.0 1.4 17,444 25,542 -31.7
Source: ACEA

Data can be downloaded here as PDF, here as Excel.

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26 Comments on “February Sales Way Down in Europe, Ford And GM Devastated...”

  • avatar

    To you who are literate in economics, why are sales up in England but down in the rest of the EU? Isn’t the British economy nearing the rocks? And, surprise, surprise Jaguar and Land Rover sales are up, the two ugly step-persons of the automotive industry. What gives? It doesn’t make sense.

    • 0 avatar

      Jaguar/Land Rover are way up, Audi/BMW/Mercedes are stable — but Lexus, Alfa Romeo and Lancia/Chrysler are falling off a cliff. At this rate Alfa will be hard-pressed to sell 50K cars this year, and there are no new models coming anytime soon.

    • 0 avatar

      LR is like porsche (especially the true RR, not the sport one), they will sale regardless of the pain caused to owners and then they will come back for more (S&M), Jag, only guess is that Ford left them in really good shape (and in England, just like most euro countries, there is national pride (the cars are made there) and the city state of london has some wealth in it).

      Ford is sacrificing MS, because they aren’t willing to play the discount game and are closing capacity to meet reality (not signing crazy long term, no firings, no closure agreements with unions probably helps in this area), sell less cars, make more money per sale, not a bad long term plan if done right (whole one ford concept), add back in JLR and Volvo and they would be 2nd or 3rd MS wise (also losing alot more money). VAG is making money in EU, N-R is making money, but not much in EU (they have the same options as ford has and think ghosn won’t hesitate to use it, manufacture in France or Russia, hard choice and all), Ford is losing a few hundred million in Europe (after being profitable over the prevous decade). Opel (losing billions, has been for long while), PSA (losing billions, no real market outside of EU) and Fiat (atleast they made the split and have held off on the chryco integration, think in end all of the auto parts except fiat(Europe) and lancia will be transferred to fiat industrial (fiat auto;s other incorps around the world can be saved and then rebuild in poland and such) but mainstream italian production will be left to die, atleast two euro automakers are going to not make it, currency and import integration, demographics and impending national finances can’t support French and Italian only brands anymore.

      • 0 avatar

        ” Jag, only guess is that Ford left them in really good shape”
        TATA has done a very good job in improving and expanding the brand.
        I wonder if PSA will join Renault in the long run? It could make a difference globally.

    • 0 avatar

      The UK went thru the worst of its economic turmoil the same time as the US as both were caused by the malfeasance of their respective finance/banking sectors.

      London’s finance center has largely recovered (as has Wall St.) and while there is a separation of haves and have-nots in the recovery, there are still Britons with $$ (same thing has happened to Iceland – which is on its path to recovery despite pretty much going bankrupt).

      The rest of Europe started their economic downturn later when the economies of Greece, Spain, etc. started to falter (eventually this fallout eventually caught up to countries with strong economies like Germany).

  • avatar

    Sales are down in Europe as People there don’t have to purchase Vehicles like we do here in North America, in Europe they have good Train and Bus connections that are sadly lacking here, also in Europe including the United Kingdom, a lot of people are “broke” and have other uses for there hard earned or Dole Money.,so you can see why Sales are in the “toilet”!

  • avatar

    Ford must be a mainstay of the middle class. This is going to be an ugly year.

    • 0 avatar

      I’m not that tuned in, but from the little bit I’ve gleaned that seems credible, Ford & Volkswagen do seem to be the mainstay vehicles of the middle class in the EU.

  • avatar

    Uh-oh…Europeans seem to have caught on to the fact that many Ford and GM products are now identical to those sold in America, and are no longer unique to Europe! :)

  • avatar

    I will give you a few good reasons why car sales are down in Europe and on any other item that is not rent, food or electricity bills.

    I am a 37 year old medicine doctor in Spain, with a PHD at a London University. Working for the same Hospital for the last 5 years on 3 months consecutive contracts. I earn 55k Eur a year before 30% income tax. We all pay 21% tax on ANYTHING we buy. You can not buy a 2 bedroom flat for less than 200k any where near a medium size town, it will be 700 Eur to rent it.

    And I am lucky, most of my friends are unployed for more than a year.

    Not sure if I am going to have a job next year.

    A midrange Ford Mondeo (Fusion in the US) 4 cylinders is about 30K Eur most of it are taxes again.

    • 0 avatar

      I believe you on this.

      When i was in the European union my money just seems to fly out of my pocket.

      I think the worst part is with VAT you don’t see what you actually pay since it is incorporated into the price of the item.

      In comparison i was in Russia for the same amount of time and i spent a fraction of what i did in the EU.

      • 0 avatar

        Funny, I would think that “the price you see is the price you pay” would help you, the consumer, budget better when making purchasing decisions. Also, technically, the VAT amount should be shown on the price tag, unlike general sales tax where you have to guess / calculate the tax amount and always pay more than the price indicated.
        But, If your comment helps you air your utterly irrelevant to this discussion VAT agenda, well, OK then.

    • 0 avatar


      Yeah, after some huffing & puffing for a while, I do believe you, and I do believe that the EU is going to crack wide open, even if they try to keep it intact in only some semi-recognizable form, despite attempting to use lofty and carefully crafted adjectives and descriptors to claim it’s as good as ever.

      Things are fundamentally falling apart over there. A monetary union imposed on such an incredibly disparate block of nations and cultures, especially with no political mechanism with teeth being created, was a really, really bad idea.

    • 0 avatar

      I had heard that things are difficult in Spain, but am truly shocked that a Doctor is provided with such low remuneration. I don’t say that to be offensive, but where i’m from (Australia), it would not be possible to find any qualified dr earning less than 100k EUR (with specialists receiving anywhere up to 500+).

      Have you ever considered leaving Spain for employment elsewhere in the EU? I work back and forth between Germany and Norway and the economic situation is much stronger. Hopefully the problems in Southern Europe will not be so long lasting.

      I do feel your pain with taxes however. VAT is not really a problem unless you are a serious consumer, however the ridiculous income taxes (and social deductions) means a loss 40% pay every month… :(

  • avatar

    How on earth did SEAT post a gain for the first two months of the year when siblings Skoda and VW (brand) posted large losses. Especially when SEAT sales are presumed to be predominately in southern Europe.

    • 0 avatar

      SEAT has a new León and Toledo, and is picking up sales in Germany, for example (SEAT now sells more cars in Germany than in Spain).

      Škoda and VW are undergoing model launch transitions to their volume models (Octavia for Škoda, Golf for VW). Given that, maintaining flat market share is not a bad accomplishment).

  • avatar

    VW sales are down, but they continue to gain share, which is extremely important.

    I can recall when the top 6 companies all had market share in the 7-10% range, and positions would change whenever 1 introduced a hot new model or 2. However they’ve done it, VW have really pulled ahead of the pack during the past several years.

    • 0 avatar

      True, but interestingly Opel/Vauxhall for the year to date has gained market share because they declined “only 5.8%” whereas VW brand declined by twice that.

      • 0 avatar

        Quite right — the landscape has changed radically. Let’s look at the top 10 brands in Europe on Jan-Feb 2003, from ACEA’s handy archive:

        1. Renault 11.1% (now 2nd, 9.7%)
        2. Volkswagen 9.4% (now 1st, 12.9%)
        3. Opel/Vauxhall 8.8% (now 5th, 6.1%)
        4. Ford 8.7% (now 4th, 6.5%)
        5. Peugeot 8.3% (now 3rd, 6.9%)
        6. Citroen 6.8% (still 6th, 5.8%)
        7. Fiat 6.0% (still 7th, 5.4%)
        8. Mercedes 5.7% (now 10th, 4.7%)
        9. Toyota 4.5% (now 11th, 4.0%)
        10. Audi 3.3% (now 8th, 5.2%)
        11. BMW 3.2% (now 9th, 4.8%)
        12. Nissan 3.0% (now 14th, 3.5%)
        13. SEAT 2.4% (now 17th, 2.3%)
        14. Hyundai 1.6% (now 13th, 3.9%)
        15. Skoda 1.5% (now 12th, 3.9%)

        Apart from VW brand’s rise to the top, some remarkable items:
        * 3rd-5th places have fallen from 8-9% range to 6-7% range
        * Toyota and Mercedes have slightly increased share but still fallen behind Audi and BMW, which have grown their market shares by half
        * The stunning rise of Hyundai and Škoda, which have more than doubled their market shares

        There are some smaller stories further down the standings, too, with JLR, Kia, Alfa Romeo and others. But one remarkable thing (for me) is that Mini’s market share has increased “only” from 0.7% to 1.1%, in spite of the massive increase in the number of models.

        • 0 avatar

          VW has apparently shown strength across the board. According to the numbers you found, their major brands have picked up a combined 7.7% of market share – which means the additional market share they have gained in the past 10 years is greater than the total current market share of any other single company, save Renault and PSA.

          However you slice it, it’s a very impressive result.

    • 0 avatar

      VW has succeeded because they’ve been able to invest much more heavily through the downturn that began in 2008 than its rivals. While everyone else began cutting back, Volkswagen increased investment in its core brands, specifically in the MQB and MLB architectures upon which the entire conglomerate now rests.

      Now, VW was able to make this investment because they are particularly well hedged against any one market turning down. But their ace in the hole: China. They’ve been able to rake in some significant profits from their Chinese operations to fund the reinvestment. It also helped that VW began to right the ship in the United States at about the time Europe started its downward trajectory.

      Finally, you cannot underestimate being at the right place at the right time with the right product. As Europe really hits the skids Volkswagen has an entirely new portfolio of fresh product at just about every price point and feature set imaginable. Can’t afford that Audi any longer because your pay was cut? No problem, we have a VW, Skoda or Seat that will fit your needs – and hey, guess what, it’s all new and we’ve increased the standard content while keeping prices the same!

      • 0 avatar

        Investing in product is definitely key. VW was well positioned to do that.

        But look at two opposite cases (excluding bankruptcies): Ford and Fiat. Ford raised capital, mortgaging everything including the brand, to build up capital — and was then able to invest in new products (though this was done more in the US than in Europe).

        Fiat, on the other hand, did no such thing and thus has starved its dealers of new product for five years already, and still for years to come. The successful 500 series is already old but still selling fairly well, but the investment starvation shows particularly in the desperate straits of Lancia and Alfa Romeo.

  • avatar

    Anent Jag: when you sell only a little, a little more goes a long way on a chart. I wish them well, but see them as a likely casualty of too little for too much for too few. On the other hand, if Greece and Cyprus are in any relation to the rest of the EU, perhaps good times for all are not ahead. I would like a new GTD, though. Go Germany (and Mexico).

  • avatar
    Big Al from Oz

    I can see this going on for a couple more years in the Eurozone.

    It’s a pity, but necessary, a broom is needed to go through and clean up the manufacturers. Also if the goverments look at the data they will hopefully see that their interference in trade/industry can increase problems.

    I can see PSA becoming part of the Nissan/Renault Alliance. Also as an outside chance I can Mitsubishi becoming part of it as well.

    Within a couple of years you will start to see the motor vehicle industry rationalise. The industry has tried to cut fat from their companies but it isn’t enough.

    Like I stated you will see fewer and fewer manufacturers, the current model just isn’t working. The Euro manufacturers will lead in this area. Their governments don’t have the money anymore to support inefficient operations or create false markets.

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