Growth Returns To The Euro Car Zone

Sounds like it was all good news recently for the car industry. The European Automobile Manufacturers Association announced that sales of new cars had risen for the eighth month in a row. April saw a 4.6% increase over the corresponding period last year when discounts, government incentives and sales of cars described as “nearly new” propped up the figures.

In recession-hit Spain, sales were the strongest with a 28.7% year-on-year rise, which more than offset the fall of 3.6% in economic powerhouse Germany. Sales rose 1.9% in Italy, 5.8% in France and 8.2% in Britain.

It was the mass market car manufacturers that showed the biggest growth, with Ford up by 7.3%, Fiat up by 3%, Renault up by 9% Peugeot by 5.8% and Opel (part of General Motors Group) showing a 5.1% growth over the previous year. It wasn’t all good news for the mass brands, with Volkswagen and Hyundai reporting declining sales of 0.8% and 4.4% respectively.

The premium car manufacturers were not quite so lucky with much smaller increases of just 1.1% at Mercedes-Benz and 0.6% over at Audi. BMW fared slightly better with a 2.3% growth in sales. The Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders in the UK (SMMT) also reported good news with a 12% increase in production to 142,000 units for the month. True car production had fallen at the start of the year as manufacturers adjusted product lines and retooled some factories, but there is no doubt that the UK, where car manufacturing accounts for 15% of the manufacturing output, is benefitting from the upswing in sales. Overall there were 464,824 new car registrations during the month, a year-on-year rise of 17.7%.

Earlier this month, the SMMT said that sales of new cars had risen in March at their fastest pace for a decade. SMMT Chief Executive, Mike Hawes, said the 12% growth figure was a “significant step forward after a period of product changes at the start to the year.”

He continued, “After several years in the doldrums, European demand for new cars is now picking up with growth in the last seven months. This is a welcome boost for the UK’s volume manufacturers for whom Europe is the key market. As new models are launched and investments realised, the sector remains on course for all-time record levels of output by 2017.”


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