European auto sales fell 25% in January, according to JD Power. This equals an annualised rate of just 11m cars, the lowest since the early 1990′s. 13.6m were sold in 2008. And although the forecaster hopes for some improvement later in the year, it suggests that “a late 2010 recovery is the most likely timing”. It notes that major markets, such as Spain, Italy and the UK, continue to struggle. France also weakened, in spite of the sales incentives on offer.
The blog found some optimism on a recent German visit about the impact of the government’s “new for old” deal. The aim is to boost consumption by encouraging older, more polluting cars, to be scrapped. But JD Power say that its introduction “was less than convincing”, with German sales down 15% in January.