There really isn’t very much to say about the latest EU auto sales data. They were simply awful. As the chart shows, 2013 volumes (red square) are well below 2012 levels (green line). Less than 800k cars were sold in the 2 months combined, down 10%.
Some major markets have now been falling for a long time. But Spain was still down 10% versus 2012, whilst Italy was down 17%. Sales in the formerly stronger markets now seem to be following this pattern. France was down 12%, whilst Germany was down 11%. Only the UK of the major markets is still showing growth, up 8%.
The EU downturn really took hold over the summer, after a period where stronger markets such as Germany and France had helped to balance weaker sales in Spain and Italy. Thus the market went from being down 3% in June versus 2011, to being down 11% in September. Since then it has been down 5%, 10%, 16%, 9% and 11% in October, November, December, January and February respectively.
March is seasonally always the strongest market. If that does not shows signs of recovery, then the outlook for the rest of the year is likely to be bleak.