After six years in the red, the European auto industry is now alive and kicking – at least as what figures say. Sales in Europe jumped 5 percent to 13,006,451 units in 2014 as over 80 percent of the brands in the region posted a year-on-year increase. Sixteen of the 31 brands tracked by ACEA automakers association posted growth higher than the market’s.
Only five brands posted a drop in sales last year. Surging the most in terms of growth were Jeep (plus 70 percent), Lexus (plus 30 percent) and Mitsubishi (plus 25 percent). Jumping the most in terms of volume were Renault (plus 73,231 vehicles), Skoda (plus 70,968) and Dacia (plus 68,668).
Renault, Skoda and Dacia accounted for 32 percent of the overall market's growth of 669,568 vehicles. Analysts expect another surge this year with EY expecting sales to grow between 3 percent and 4 percent and IHS Automotive forecasting deliveries to jump 2.5 percent to about 13.3 million.
IHS analyst Carlos Da Silva, however, remarked that that the region’s sales increase in 2014 should not be misinterpreted. He quipped that the “foundations for a flourishing car market are yet to be built.” According to EY, self-registrations, heavy discounting and other buyer incentives are distorting the true level of auto demand in Europe.
While that sounds not good, some carmakers like Ford and Fiat are already increasing production and adding staff. Ford plans this month to hike production of the Fiesta subcompact at its Cologne site in Germany by 300 vehicles a day to 1,850 units.
The carmaker has already hiked production of the Focus, C-Max and Grand C-Max at its Saarlouis site in Germany. The On the other hand, Fiat Chrysler said it would hire 1,500 workers at its Melfi plant in Italy to increase output of the Jeep Renegade and Fiat 500X to more than 1,100 a day.