Car sales in Europe are down 1,8% in 2013, the fourth consecutive annual loss and down almost 16% on 2009 and down more than 21% on 2007. The bright spot is that December marked the largest monthly year-on-year increase of 2013 and that growth was shared among all major markets. Over the full year 2013, the UK recorded a double-digit growth of +10.8%, while Spain posted a more moderate upturn at +3.3%, while Germany at -4.2%, France at -5.7% and Italy at -7.1% saw their demand for new cars decline, each losing 100.000 sales or more.
Unfortunately, the sales increases in the UK and Spain are not due to sustainable factors, as the British banks paid billions of pounds in compensation to consumers for past insurance mis-selling, and because of the artificially low interest rates in the UK, most people used that compensation of 3.000 pounds on average as a deposit for a loan on a new car. In Spain, the government provided incentives to boost new-car sales.
If we look at manufacturers and brands, we see Dacia is the success story of 2013, with sales up almost 55.000 units, or +22,8%, helping the Renault Group offset small declines at the Renault and Nissan brands and helping Dacia leapfrog Seat to become Europe’s 15th best selling brand. Mazda also showed impressive growth, with sales up over 22.000 units, or +17,9%. Other notable increases are shown by Jaguar at +15,7%, Seat at +11%, Land Rover at +8% and Mercedes Benz at +5,2%. [Read more…]