European New Car Sales Fell 8% in 2008
Western European new car registrations fell 8 per cent in 2008, while the monthly figure for December plummeted 19 per cent. According to the European car makers’ association, ACEA, this is the sharpest annual fall since 1993. However, according to market analysts, the fact that there were two extra selling days in 2008 means that when 2007 and 2008 are compared like-with-like the results are actually worse than those published.
The UK market was one of the three worst affected in Western Europe, with registrations falling 21 per cent year-on-year and 11 per cent year-to date. The Spain was the only market worse affected than the UK. According to the ACEA figures, Spanish new car registration were 50 per cent down year-on-year and 28 per cent down year-to-date.
Despite the sharp falls in the UK, SMMT representatives were philosophical saying that things could have been worse. Interestingly the only number that appears to be on the increase is the market share occupied by diesel engined cars. This grew to 43.6 per cent of the new vehicle parc in 2008.
“The global economic downturn, precipitated by the crisis in the international banking and finance sector, created unprecedented challenges for the UK automotive industry in 2008,” said SMMT chief executive, Paul Everitt. “2009 will be another difficult year for the UK automotive industry with new vehicle registrations and production significantly reduced. The industry faces these challenges stronger and more resilient than in recent memory. The extraordinary circumstances we currently face mean that government support will be required to take advantage of global economic growth when it returns.”
On the continent, France posting the least decline in new registrations (-16 per cent year-on-year versus -1 per cent year-to-date), followed by Germany (-7 per cent year-on-year and -2 per cent year-to-date). 2008).