By on February 5, 2014


The European automobile market may be pulling out of its six year sales slump, according to Automotive News, with  new car registrations in Germany up 7% in January from last year, joined by France, Italy and Spain reporting year to year increases for the month. German new car sales  for the month were 206,000, the third monthly gain out of the past four months and the best monthly percentage improvement since September 2011. Analysts caution, though, that the growth in the German market was in part due to discounting.

However, industry executives and analysts warned that underlying demand may not be robust as Germany’s growth was in part attributable to generous price discounts. Ernst-Robert Nouvertne, who operates two Volkswagen stores near Cologne, said “Incentives are the name of the game. Headline sales are looking good but profit per car is crumbling. The (German) market is still pretty strained.”

For their part, the VDA trade association said that sales could have been even better but January 2014 had one less sales day than the same month in 2013. “It’s pleasant to see that the stabilization of the German market is continuing at the start of 2014 but we should remain only cautiously optimistic,” Matthias Wissmann, VDA president said. Wissmann noted that January’s increase was boosted by relatively poor sales last year. The VDA said that it expects new car registrations in Germany to rise to about 3 million vehicles this year from 2.95 million in 2013.

French new car sales were up slightly, 0.5% to 125,477 in January. The CCFA industry association forecast stable or slightly higher car sales in France this year.

Sales of new cars and light trucks in Italy were up 3% to 117,802, according to the government’s transport ministry. Industry groups, however, urged caution, attributing part of the increase to pent up demand as car owners finally replace older vehicles after putting off new car purchases while the financial crisis was ongoing. Automotive research group Centro Studi Promotor said in a statement, “In absolute terms, sales of passenger cars [in Italy] remain at levels last seen in the late 1970s.”

Sales of new cars were also up in Spain, +7.6% last month to 53,436 vehicles. Auto manufacturers’ association Anfac said that sales were improved by government subsidies to encourage scrapping old cars.

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17 Comments on “Europe Finally Turning Around? German Registrations Up 7%, Sales Also Rise in France, Spain, Italy...”

  • avatar

    Europe and Japan are much different markets from the U.S. When times re tough and consumer confidence is down, they keep their old car and take public transportation. There is plenty of pent up demand in Europe, however.

    • 0 avatar

      What a load of codswallop!

      Oh yeah, all my friends in Blighty hopped right on the buses in 2009. And kept their old cars.

      Ever hear of the cash for clunkers campaign? They had it in Europe and Japan too.

      There’s pent up demand in Europe eh? Well up on your reading, I see. Demographics are against a quick rebound

      Better to stick to theorizing on a market you can claim to at least know something about.

      • 0 avatar

        None of Germany, France or Italy are currently running a scrappage scheme. Spain is, but it has been in effect since October 2012 so it doesn’t really impact year-over-year numbers.

        Like in the US, the age of the car population is significantly older now, so there will need to be a rebound in the longer term. The current numbers are a cause for some cautious optimism that the bottom may be behind us.

  • avatar

    Spain extended its car scrappage scheme (cash for clunkers style) and the Netherlands is instituting higher fees to start 2014, helping both of those countries pull demand forward. There isnt much to cheer about here yet as far as I can see.

  • avatar

    Improvement in one month, recession over! Yay!

  • avatar

    EU17 by the numbers:
    EU17 GDP average 2000/2008: 2.0 percent per year
    2009, -4.4
    2010, 2.0
    2011, 1.6
    2012, -0.7
    2013, -0.4f
    2014, 1.1f
    Debt to income ratio households: 99 percent.

    • 0 avatar

      For the sake of comparison, US debt-to-income ratio is around 105%.

      In any case, this ratio is severely impacted by the level of home ownership, as a mortgage is typically far larger (at the beginning at least) than a person’s annual income.

  • avatar

    With 70-80% total tax rates and $5 per gallon gas tax, It is doubtful the European Tax Cattle(ETC) will be pulling out of any slump. One would have to be an absolute fool to work for a living in Europe when a single mom with 2 kids has a high living standard thru parasitic socialist wealth transfers than mid-level Engineers. Just like in any parasitic tapeworm “socialist” society, the only pent-up demand is for more thieving handouts.

    • 0 avatar

      70-80% is pretty far from accurate as is the part about the single mom vs. the engineer.

      • 0 avatar

        Highest top marginal tax rate (on income) in Europe is 57% in Sweden; total tax on a salary will be far below that. And you can get to over 50% in the US as well once you include state and local income taxes.

        There are also payroll taxes/fees payable by employers, but that is also true in the US (and you should include health care costs in the US to be comparable).

        • 0 avatar

          Figure in VAT and energy taxes for a fuller picture of the percentage of Europeans’ slave pay that they have any domain over.

          • 0 avatar

            And yet everytime I go to Europe I note what happy damn slaves they are unlike this poor basterd working the register at Wally-World here in the US.

    • 0 avatar

      Such unrealistic examples indicate that your next-door neighbour mom earns more than you do with your engineering degree, which obviously causes you some serious mental pain. I cannot see any other reason for posting such a blatant political rubbish on a car blog.

  • avatar

    It’s why I left Europe…I’m a producer…Not a socialist parasite.
    Europeans are such awful little people…I am no longer their milkcow.

    • 0 avatar

      I feel sorry for your European manufacturer experience. Kudos to you for adapting to the local views on social care in your new home country so
      quickly though. You might want to share that experience with FOX News, just to keep the massed educated. ;)

  • avatar

    It’s just not a discussion until some bratty liberal parasite states “FOX News” as if that means something. It’s almost like you don’t know how to think for yourself. The island monkeys still worship a violent/parasitic “Royal Family”…How primitive a society and why would any fully human individual want to live there?

    Growing up under soviet socialism tends to make you grow up and become a self-owning man.

    Social Care? Is that what you think it is? Parasitic government-worshiping monkeys don’t ever deserve it.

    • 0 avatar

      JD, please adjust the volume and voluminous plethora of right-wing rage theory and plain ol’ xenophobic hypebolic incorrectness along with the fit of your tin-foil hat. Your prejudice and ignorance is showing.

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