EU auto sales continued to improve in November versus 2008, with total volumes up 27%. But as the chart from ACEA (EU Automobile Manufacturers Assoc) shows, they were still lower than in 2007.
The difference between sales in W Europe, and in the new EU Central European states (EU CE), was quite dramatic. Sales in the former rose 31% in November, whilst they fell 17% in the latter.
Overall, total EU sales are now down 2.8% versus 2008. W European sales are only down 1%, thanks to the major stimulus programmes adopted in many countries. But EU CE sales are down 27%.
The key question, of course, is the 2010 outlook? Many fear that subsidies have only brought forward planned sales, and not created genuinely new demand. If they are right, and governments prove unwilling, or unable, to further subsidise sales, then chemicals volumes in this important market may well come under further pressure.