Wednesday 15 October 2008

Chinese & European car sales slide (CN/EU)

The credit crunch is affecting car sales world-wide and China is no exception. Domestic automakers sold a combined 552,800 cars, including sedans, SUV's and MPV's, which is a drop of 1.4% from a year earlier, the China Association of Automobile Manufacturers said.

The decrease followed a 6.2% decline in August, which was the first year-on-year drop over the past two years. Potential buyers were held off by the 50% loss in the Shanghai Composite Index since the beginning of this year and record inflation, the highest in 12 years. The weaker economic outlook and higher fuel prices were also blamed for the market cooling.

For the first three quarters of this year, passenger-vehicle sales rose 11.4% year on year to 5.1 million units. The rise marked a significant decline in growth, from the 17.1% increase for half-year sales and 23.8% jump for the same period last year, according to industry watchers.

The drop also raised market concerns that the world's second largest auto market will not be able to achieve its full-year sales projection of 10 million units and maintain double-digit sales growth this year.

Meanwhile in Europe, registrations of new vehicles in Europe have fallen by 8.2% year-on-year in September, according to figures just released by the European Automobile Manufacturers’ Association (ACEA).

The figures show that the financial crisis is affecting sales across the continent, but they also prove that Britain is suffering worse than most, with UK sales declining by 21% in September year-on-year.

The ACEA says that demand for new cars is weakening as buyers shy away from making large purchases, and as customers struggle to find credit to buy cars with. The September sales figures are the lowest since 1998.

Sales in France increased slightly, growing 8.4% after a poor August, while Germany was down 1.5% and Italy fell by 5.5%. Big losers included Spain - sales down 32.2%, Ireland down 40.7% and Iceland was down 47.6%.

Among manufacturers, GM sales fell by 18.1% PSA sales by 9.0% and Fiat group sales by 1.4%. Despite disastrous UK sales, Renault’s European position held up surprisingly well, down 2.1%, while Volkswagen Group increased sales slightly which are up by 1.4%.

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