Car Sales Take a Dive in Europe
Car sales this year are off to a bad start across Europe.
New-car registrations skidded 7% to 1.24 million units in January, reports ACEA, the region’s big automotive trade group.
ACEA’s totals no longer include the U.K. (where sales also fell 7% last month), now that Britain has finally exited the European Union.
Traffic jam in Germany (Getty Images)
Much of last month’s decline was payback from an end-of-year surge in 2019 as consumers rushed to beat impending tax hikes in several countries. Example: The scramble produced an aberrant 21% sales jump in December.
Lately, it’s been tricky business trying to make sense of Europe’s car market. Year-on-year comparisons bounced up and down for months last year, warped by new emission rules that skewed production and sales.
But beneath the gyrations, analysts believe Europe is slipping into the same sales cooldown that has been affecting the U.S. and China.
January sales in Europe were not pretty in the EU’s top four markets. The numbers were down for the region’s second-tier markets too.
Results were similar among Europe’s largest vehicle producers, with one exception. Volkswagen Group was able to hold sales steady, as increased demand for its Audi and SEAT models offset a 7% drop for the VW brand.
Almost nobody else had a good January. Sales fell for PSA (-13%), Renault (-16%), FCA (-7%), and Ford (-23%). Sales rose for BMW (+5%), but they fell for Daimler (-10%).
Dan Nicholson is vice president of General Motors Global Propulsion Systems, the organization that had been “GM Powertrain” for 24 years.
For conducting business in the U.S. market, Toyota has historically had several separate business entities: a sales and distribution company headquartered in California (Toyota Motor Sales, USA); manufacturing operations (Toyota Motor Manufacturing North America); a racing subsidiary (Toyota Racing Development, USA); the Toyota Technical Center for R&D in Ann Arbor; and a design facility in California (Calty Design Research, Inc.). On April 1, 2006, Toyota merged its R&D operations and its manufacturing operations into a single company.
The little car that could still can. And this time as a car that not only gets great fuel economy, but which has ride and handling that makes it more than an econo-box (and its styling is anything but boxy).