EU auto sales top USA and China in 2009

Euroautos 2009.jpgAlmost unnoticed, the EU became the largest regional auto market last year. Thanks to the support of scrappage programmes (particularly Germany’s €5bn scheme) it sold 14.4 million autos, compared to just 10.4m in the USA and 13.6m in China.

W Europe continued to see higher sales than Central Europe, due to greater government support. But overall, EU sales were still down 1.6% versus 2008 and 9.5% versus the peak Boom year of 2007. Unsurprisingly, the scrappage schemes boosted sales of smaller, more fuel-efficient autos, causing Ford, Renault and Fiat to gain market share. BMW and Mercedes dropped to 8th and 9th place.

It seems unlikely that governments can afford to maintain this level of support in 2010. GM Europe president Nick Reilly expects sales to decline by at least 1.6m, whilst analysts JD Power forecast a 10.5% fall to 12.2m sales. In turn, this suggests chemical and polymer sales into this important market will remain under pressure.

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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