Car sales in the European Union have grown 13 % in December 2013, compared to the same period in 2012. The entire year was abysmal however and became the worst year for car sales since 1995.
Car replacements give hope
According to the ACEA (the European Automobile Manufacturers’ Association), 906,264 vehicles were registered in December in Europe: a 13.3 % increase compared to December 2012, but still the third worst December ever.
ACEA believes there are three reasons for the increase: the improved economic situation (it seems the worst has passed), several brands dropped prices to limit the damage and the age of the cars. The average European car is – partly because of the crisis – some 7 to 8 years old, but now an increasing amount of people need to replace their car.
6th negative year in a row
Despite the growth in December, the whole of 2013 saw European car sales drop 1.7 % compared to 2012. In total, some 11.85 million cars were sold, the sixth year in a row the numbers dropped. That is mainly because large car-selling countries have not performed well: Italy (-7.1 %), France (-5.7 %), and even Germany (-4.2 %).
Great Britain showed the biggest increase (+10.2 %), with Spain catching up again (+3.3 %). Belgian car sales remained pretty much level (-0.1 %), while the Dutch sector got took a beating of -17 %. The car sector there is counting on a limited growth for 2014.
VW-group increases lead
German VW-group was the best-selling car group once again in 2013, thanks to good Seat (+11.3 %) and Skoda (+4.2 %) numbers. Despite a small 0.6 % drop, the group (also owning Volkswagen (-3.5 %) and Audi (-1.4 %)) increased its market share from 24.7 % to 25 %.
France takes spots 2 and 3: PSA (Peugeot – Citroën) sold 8.4 % fewer cars, but stays ahead of competitor Renault (which managed a 4.4 % growth thanks to its low-cost Romanian Dacia brand). GM, which owns Opel, dropped 4.3 % and Ford lost 3.2 % and these brands are Europe’s top 5.
When looking at luxury brands, Mercedes triumphed with an increase of 5.3 %, even though BMW (-0.3 %) and Audi (-1.4 %) are still ahead in absolute numbers. The lead is crumbling though...
(Translated by Gary Peeters)