European car sales fall again in March

Citroen C3 on the assembly line Peugeot Citroen's sales fell heavily in March

Car sales across Europe were 10.3% lower in March from a year earlier, the 18th consecutive month of falls.

The figures, from the Association of European Carmakers (Acea) showed most carmakers saw sales drop, with Peugeot Citroen and Toyota suffering the most.

Continuing economic stagnation across Europe has depressed sales for almost six years.

The UK was the only country in Europe where sales rose, with registrations up by 5.9%.

Germany, the best performing economy in the eurozone, saw the biggest fall in sales of 17.1%, with France just behind with a drop of 16.2%.

"The car industry is suffering just as the European economy is suffering," said motor industry analyst Christian Stadler, associate professor of strategic management at Warwick Business School.

The falls came despite hefty incentives on offer to buyers of new cars.

The Reuters news agency said that average retail sales incentives in the top five markets - Germany, the UK, France, Italy and Spain - had risen 13% to almost 2,400 euros (£2,000; $3,200) per vehicle.

Hybrid sales

Start Quote

High-end brands aimed at richer customers are not doing as badly”

End Quote Christian Stadler Motor industry analyst

Last month, 1.31 million cars were registered in Europe.

Peugeot and Toyota were the worst affected manufacturers, with sales falling more than 16% from a year earlier, Volkswagen also suffered a sharp drop, with sales down 15% and the US carmaker General Motors saw sales fall by 12.8%.

Peugeot has forecast a sales fall of up to 5% this year, although since that guidance was given the chief executive has said that the outlook has worsened.

Jaguar was the only carmaker to see serious gains, with sales up by 21%. Mercedes also saw sales rise. although only by 0.8%.

"There are firms bucking the trend, like Jaguar Land Rover who are positioned well in the emerging markets, and you see that those high-end brands aimed at richer customers are not doing as badly," said Mr Stadler.

"Car firms positioned in this way will be able to avoid the worst of the European slowdown."

In a separate announcement, Toyota, which was a pioneer of petrol-electric hybrid vehicles with its Prius model in 1997, said sales of these and its other hybrid models had now passed five million.

Toyota said it had sold a total 5.125 million hybrid vehicles by the end of March, and they now accounted for 14% of its global sales.

More on This Story

Global Car Industry

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external Internet sites

More Business stories

RSS

Features

  • photo of patient zero, two year-old Emile OuamounoPatient zero

    Tracking first Ebola victim and and how virus spread


  • A young Chinese girl looks at an image of BarbieBarbie's battle

    Can the doll make it in China at the second attempt?


  • Prosperi in the 1994 MdSLost in the desert

    How I drank urine and bat blood to survive in the Sahara


  • Afghan interpetersBlacklisted

    The Afghan interpreters left by the US to the mercy of the Taliban


  • Flooded homesNo respite

    Many hit by last winter's floods are struggling to pay soaring insurance bills


BBC © 2014 The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.