By on January 29, 2014

2014 Ford Transit Nugget

After six consecutive years of falling auto sales, the European automotive industry group ACEA predicts a 2 percent increase for 2014 as demand slowly works its way out of the wilderness, according to a report by Automotive News.

At a press conference in ACEA’s headquarters in Brussels, president Philippe Varin said that though sales won’t return to pre-Great Recession levels any time soon, he believes 2014 will “herald a transition toward a recovery” based upon December 2013 delivery gains signalling a U-turn toward the light.

Overall European sales in 2013 fell 1.8 percent to 12.3 million units, the lowest figure noted since 1995. Within the European Union, 11.8 million units were delivered in the same period; Varin, who is also CEO of PSA/Peugeot-Citroen, predicts the EU figure will climb “just above” 12 million in 2014.

Though automakers, such as Ford and Renault, are also predicting a gradual revival in sales — hinging on the economic activity of France, Spain and Italy in the coming year — the Blue Oval, PSA and General Motors are shuttering factories and scaling back their workforces in Europe in response to the market decline.

To remedy the issue, Varin believes authorities in the European market should do all they can to help bolster the coming recovery, including increased flexibility in labor and the use of EU social funds to help automakers reorganize.

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