European auto sales fall 4%
on May 17, 2011

EU autos May11.pngEU auto sales have been a two-speed market recently. Strong growth in Germany, France, Benelux and the Netherlands kept sales moving forward versus 2010 levels. But other key markets, including the UK, Spain and Italy have been weak.
April’s sales suggest that this period is ending. But, as the blog has feared, the new trend is one of growing weakness, not a more general recovery. Only Germany, up 3%, saw increased volumes versus 2010.
As the chart shows, the overall market (red line) was down 4%. At 1.1 million, they were the weakest April volumes for many years:
• Spain remained very weak, down 23%
• France was down 11%
• The UK was down 7%
• Italy was down 2% versus its poor 2010 level
Of course, May/June may see better volumes, before people head off on holiday. But it is still likely we are at the start of a new multi-year trend.
Europe’s ageing BabyBoomers, as we discuss in our new eBook Boom, Gloom and the New Normal, will probably need fewer new cars in future. Equally, their finances will be squeezed, as austerity programmes get underway in more and more countries.

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