February 2013 turned out to be a bad month for carmakers in Europe, as passenger car registrations in the region dropped 10 percent to 829,359 units. The decline badly hit US carmakers Ford Motor Co. and General Motors and Italian manufacturer Fiat. The continued recession in Europe continued to discourage consumers to make expensive purchases like cars, despite a move from carmakers to offer steep discounts for their units.
According to figures released by industry association ACEA, Ford posted a 21-percent drop in sales in the European Union and EFTA countries in February 2013. Ford attributed its lower sales to production stoppages at its Genk plant in Belgium, which it plans to shut down in 2014. Ford of Europe's marketing and sales head, Roelant de Waard, said in a statement that their sales in the first two months of 2013 were significantly affected by the lack of consistent supply of the Mondeo, S-Max and Galaxy – all which are built in Genk.
Production at the plant resumed Monday after workers agreed to severance terms. According to de Waard, there’s strong demand for Ford’s vehicles and so the company will move quickly to fill orders and meet orders. On the other hand, GM logged a 20-percent decline in sales in Europe in February 2013, with Opel/Vauxhall's volume dropping by 15 percent and Chevrolet’s sales sliding 38 percent.
Fiat Group suffered a 16 percent drop in sales in Europe while Volkswagen Group’s VW brand succumbed to an almost 10-percent fall in sales. The Group’s luxury brand Audi shrank 3.8 percent. French carmaker PSA/Peugeot-Citroen saw its volume drop 13 percent, with Citroen falling 18 percent and Peugeot declining 8.5 percent. Another French carmaker, Renault, saw group sales slide 8.6 percent, as 15-percent jump in sales in its Dacia brand compensated for a 15-percent fall at the core Renault brand.
South Korean brand Hyundai managed to log a 1.4-percent hike in sales, while its affiliate Kia suffered a 1.1-percent fall. Allan Rushforth, senior vice president and chief operating officer of Hyundai's European business, in a statement, said that economic and political uncertainties, combined with different carbon dioxide-based vehicle taxation policies resulted in a very mixed picture for the vehicle market in the region.