Please consider auto sales numbers from a Google Translation of  the article Portugal leads drop in car sales in Europe.

  • Portugal -47.4%
  • France -20.7%
  • Italy -16.9%
  • Belgium -16%
  • Cyprus -17%
  • Greece -13.3%
  • Germany -.4%
  • UK unchanged
  • Spain +2.5%
  • Ireland +1.5%

Central and Eastern Europe had booming sales, with Romania an increase of 86.4%, and Latvia (+44.8%) and Hungary (+43.9%).

Those are interesting Eastern European numbers but they are statistically meaningless compared to the declines in France, Italy, and elsewhere.

Renault Leads European Car-Sales Drop With Fiat, Peugeot as Growth Stalls

Bloomberg reports Renault Leads European Car-Sales Drop With Fiat, Peugeot as Growth Stalls

Renault SA (RNO), Fiat SpA (F) and PSA Peugeot Citroen (UG) led the biggest decline in European car sales since June as consumers balked at making big purchases after the region’s economy shrunk.

Registrations in January fell 6.6 percent to 1 million vehicles, marking the fourth consecutive monthly decline, Brussels-based European Automobile Manufacturers’ Association, or ACEA, said today in a statement.

Sales in France, the region’s second-biggest market after Germany, plunged 21 percent, while deliveries in Italy, the third-largest market, slumped 17 percent. Gross domestic product in the 17-nation of euro area fell 0.3 percent in the fourth quarter, the first drop since the second quarter of 2009.

“Carmakers too dependent on small cars and their national markets, as the French ones and Fiat, are suffering the most,” said Ian Fletcher, a London-based analyst with IHS Automotive. “They are basically trying to keep their heads out of the water.”

Fiat, whose mass-market brands lost about 500 million euros in the region last year, is looking for a partner in Europe to cut costs and share technology as it doesn’t see a recovery in the market before 2014. Fiat’s European sales dropped 16 percent to 69,479 autos.

Fiat Chief Executive Officer Sergio Marchionne, who shut down a factory in Sicily at the end of last year, expects the Italian market to fall to the lowest since 1985 this year.

“We need to remove the fact that we’ve got the mass car market in Europe, which is economically unproductive and which, just in raw, pure economic analysis, does not deserve capital allocation of any kind,” Marchionne said on a conference call with analysts Feb. 1.

Renault’s registrations dropped 25 percent to 82,724 cars. The company, based in the Paris suburb of Boulogne-Billancourt, today reported a decline in earnings before interest, taxes and one-time items to 1.09 billion euros ($1.42 billion) from 1.1 billion euros a year earlier.

General Motors Co. (GM) posted a 14 percent decline to 73,376 vehicles, as a 21 percent decline for the Opel and Vauxhall brands more than offset a 27 percent gain for Chevrolet.

Buckle up for a massive recession in Europe because one is coming.

Mike “Mish” Shedlock
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