Car sales in Europe dipped 10.2% to 829,359 units in February,
according to the European Automobile Manufacturers' Association
("ACEA"), driven by continued weak demand and troubles faced by
highly indebted banks in financing new car purchases for
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Sales in all the major European markets, except U.K. decreased in
the month. Sales tumbled 17.4% in Italy, 10.5% in Germany, 12.1%
in France and 9.8% in Spain. However, sales in the U.K. grew 7.9%
in the month.
Sales by Automakers
Among the U.S. automakers,
Ford Motor Co.
) saw the steepest decline in sales in February. The automaker's
sales plunged 20.8% to 53,660 cars in February. As a result, Ford
is cutting back its European production capacity and pursuing
three plant closures. It was followed by
General Motors Company
), which registered a 20.1% fall in sales, driven by a 38%
decline in Chevrolet brand sales.
Among the European automakers,
) - biggest in the continent - posted a 7.2% decrease in sales,
led by a 12% fall in its Skoda brand sales. Meanwhile, sales at
), Renault, BMW and
) shrank 16.0%, 13.0%, 8.6%, 2.8%, and 1.7%, respectively, in the
Korea's Hyundai Motor Corp. and Japan's
Honda Motor Co.
) and Mazda are the only three automakers that registered a sales
gain in Europe during the month. Sales at Hyundai went up 1.4%
while sales at Honda and Mazda escalated 27.0% and 13.1%,
Europe versus U.S.
Car sales in Europe reached its lowest level of 12.05 million
units in 2012 since 1995, according to ACEA. The decline was the
steepest in the highly troubled euro zone, where car sales dipped
11.3% to roughly 9 million units, according to Reuters.
Auto sales in the U.S. rose modestly by 3.7% year-over-year to
1.19 million vehicles in February. This translated into a
seasonally adjusted annual rate (SAAR) of 15.4 million units for
the year, up about 2% from 15.1 million units registered in the
same month of 2012.
Sadly, the growth rate in sales came at the lower end of the
4%-6% projection made by TrueCar.com and Edmunds.com a few days
back. This can be attributed to rising gas prices (up 36 cents to
$3.78 per gallon in February) and turbulence in the stock market.
However, improving construction market, cheap financing and
strong pent-up demand kept the recovery in the U.S. auto industry