European car sales falling back to the 1990s

The downward trend in most of mainland Europe is now so bleak the French are on target to have their worst year since 1997 with full year sales predicted to be down 14% at 1.9 million. Even more concerning for the French government is that the domestic brands are being particularly badly hit with PSA down 22.9%, Renault down 33.5% and Renault’s sister company Nissan down 29.4%. Meanwhile Hyundai continued to grow, up 20.5%, and the German premium brands also outperformed the market with Audi (+1%), BMW group (+4.2%) and Mercedes (+18.5%).


Whilst the German market has been reasonably robust this year, albeit heavily supported by self-registrations, it obviously does not want to be outdone in the struggling stakes and on the back of 2012 likely to close at just over 2% down, forecasts for 2013 for the German market predict a further fall of 3.2% which means it is now looking at its second worst performance since 1991. Personally I think the fall may be a little steeper than that but I hope I am wrong. The good news for manufacturers with a global sales footprint is that according to the Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU) Industries 2013 report we can expect to see a general stabilisation in the world’s automotive markets next year.