European auto sales fall 8%

Europe is the world’s largest auto manufacturer, accounting for 32% of the global market. So news that European auto sales fell 8.3% last month, compared to 2007, is worrying. Italy’s sales fell 20%, and were today described as ‘disastrous’ by CEO Sergio Marchionne, who announced that 4 of their 6 plants will shut for 3 weeks later this year. Fiat’s truck plant will shut for 6 weeks, due to lack of demand. Spain was even worse, with sales down 31%. Whilst Irish sales halved.

The situation has echoes of how US auto sales began to fall away this time last year. Last August, I noted how the US majors were starting to report a fall in consumer confidence. Similarly ACEA, the European manufacturers association, is now warning of ‘difficult economic circumstances’ in its latest monthly report. The auto industry is a very important market for chemical sales. This new trend towards falling home market sales is therefore not good news for European chemical companies, already facing a difficult H2.

About Paul Hodges

Paul Hodges is Chairman of International eChem, trusted commercial advisers to the global chemical industry. The aim of this blog is to share ideas about the influences that may shape the chemical industry over the next 12 – 18 months. It will try to look behind today’s headlines, to understand what may happen next in important issues such oil prices, economic growth and the environment. We may also have some fun, investigating a few of the more offbeat events that take place from time to time. Please do join me and share your thoughts. Between us, we will hopefully develop useful insights into the key factors that will drive the industry's future performance.

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