Carmakers’ Hope in Troubled Times: the UK

Analysts globally think it’s interesting to dig up total sales figures of the world’s automotive markets and publish about it. They’re right, it is interesting!

I see a little report fly by every single month, by which I can judge the appalling state of the automotive industry. At least, in Europe. Whereas other global markets are slowly but steadily recovering, Europeans are still buying fewer cars than last year. The combined total of cars sold in the 27 EU countries is 6.9% lower this April than it was in the same month of 2010. Those aren’t figures to make carmakers smile and, indeed, many of them are having a really hard time. One high ranking executive from Ford’s European branch  even went as far as to predict a price war the other day, because factories are suffering from huge over-capacities.

Anyway, the 6.9% reduction looks all green and shiny when you compare it to the performance of some of the individual European markets. Sales in Denmark dropped by 32.5%, in Portugal by 41.7%, in Greece by 56.7% and in Finland by a staggering 64.5%. Not exactly the biggest automotive markets in Europe, but shocking figures nonetheless.

The losses aren’t at all evenly distributed across the industry, as a couple of brands are receiving all the punishment. Lexus saw its sales drop by 38.9%, Mitsubishi lost 37.6% and Alfa Romeo, Fiat’s problem child, saw their numbers fall by 31.1%. On the other hand, some brands have absolutely no reason to complain. Jaguar went up by 30.6%, Land Rover by 28.9% and Jeep by 27.5%.

Coincidence that two of Britain’s (no longer British) car brands are leading the pack? I don’t think so! The UK itself is heavily outperforming other European markets and notes a plus of 3.3%, followed by the Germans, who’ve added some 2.9% to their numbers.

Keep on leasing and/or buying people!

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