EU Economy
European car sales decline slowed in 2013 - worst year since 1995
By Michael Hennigan, Finfacts founder and editor
Jan 16, 2014 - 10:38 AM

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The European car market showed signs of improvement in 2013 with a sales decline of 1.7% compared with 2012  when units plunged 8.2% - - the sector's worst result for 18 years.

With a 13.3% increase in new car registrations in December 2013, the EU recorded the largest monthly year-on-year growth since December 2009 (+16.6%). However, in absolute figures, the results were the third lowest to date for a month of December with a total of 906,294 units.

The data was published today by the European Automobile Manufacturers Association (ACEA - - Association des Constructeurs Europeens d'Áutomobiles).

From January to December, the EU market recorded a total of 11,850, 905 new cars. With a contraction of 1.7% in 2013, new car registrations have been on the decline for six consecutive years. In terms of annual volumes, 2013 is the worst year since 1995 (15 EU countries at the time), and the worst ever since ACEA began the series in 2003 with the enlarged EU.

In December, most EU markets posted growth, as did all the major ones, from +1.4% in Italy, to +5.4% in Germany, +9.4% in France, +18.2% in Spain and +23.8% in the UK. Irish sales were at -32.9%.

Over twelve months, results were more contrasted across markets. The UK recorded a double-digit growth (+10.8%), while Spain posted a more moderate upturn (+3.3%), and Germany (-4.2%), France (-5.7%) and Italy (-7.1%) saw their demand for new cars decline. Overall, the EU market recorded a total of 11,850, 905 new cars, or 1.7% less than in 2012.

Irish sales fell 6.6% while sales in Portugal rose 11.1%

PSA Peugeot Citroën, the French manufacturer, continued its decline, with sales dropping 8.4%. However, Renault reported a 4.4% rise in sales.

Italy's Fiat, which recently acquired full control of US number three carmaker Chrysler, suffered a 7.1% fall.

The 12-brand Volkswagen (VW) of Germany, including Audi and Porsche, reported global sales last year, excluding the MAN and Scania heavy truck brands, rose 4.8% to 9.5m vehicles despite a sales rise in Western Europe ex-Germany of only 0.1% and a decline in the home market of 1.4%. 2013 deliveries in China, the world's biggest car market, announced last week, rose 16% to 3.27m vehicles, exceeding those of Detroit-based General Motors (GM), whose sales climbed 11% to 3.16m units in China.

China sold 18m cars last year, up 16%, to remain the industry’s top market, selling 10 times as many cars as in India, where economic woes have dented its once-vaunted car market.

Country and brand data [pdf]

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