EU auto sales fall 10% in February

EU autos Mar12.pngEU auto sales are back at early 2009 levels. This was the height of the slump that followed the start of the financial crisis. But today, unlike then, it seems unlikely that politicians can afford another €2500 ($3.25k) ‘cash for clunkers’ programme.

As the chart shows, 2012 sales (red square) fell 10% in February versus 2011 (green line). This followed a 7% fall in January. Cumulatively, they are now just 2% above 2009’s level (blue).

There was no good news, according to ACEA, the industry association. They noted that February “demand for new cars dropped in all major markets, except Germany where registrations remained stable”. Equally, on a year to date basis:

• Sales were down 21% in France and down 18% in Italy
• Spain, the UK and Germany were all slightly negative

It also seems unlikely that coming months will see much improvement. Austerity is replacing stimulus programmes in most countries. Whilst Germany’s economy may well slow as activity weakens in China, its main export market.

About Paul Hodges

Paul Hodges is Chairman of International eChem, trusted commercial advisers to the global chemical industry. He also serves as a Global Expert for the World Economic Forum. The aim of this blog is to share ideas about the influences that may shape the chemical industry and the global economy over the next 12 – 18 months. It looks behind today’s headlines, to understand what may happen next in critical areas such as oil prices, China and Emerging Markets, currencies, autos, housing, economic growth and the environment. 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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