As expected, car sales in Italy, Spain and France dropped in August, as government subsidies were phased out or ended. This confirms a depressing outlook for this sector. Italy's dealer association Federauto said that Italian passenger car sales fell by 19% to 63,000 units last month.
Carmakers association ANFAC said that the volume in Spain dropped by 23.8% to 44,578 in August when compared to the previous year. Meanwhile, French sales fell by 9.8%. Italy's new-car sales for 2010 are estimated to be about 400,000 units below the 2.16 million units sold last year.
According to Federauto president Filippo Pavan Bernacchi, for Italian dealers to survive in this market, they have to cut about 15,000 of their current 178,000 jobs. Federauto added that retail sales, which are not affected by automaker and dealer self-registrations, fell by 29% in August.
In Spain, potential consumers were likely to be dismayed as its government subsidies ended at the start of July. At around the same time, the hike in value-added tax was announced. In France, sales fell by 9.8% in August sales as a scrappage scheme was phased out.
A spokesman for industry association CCFA said that the French market is going back to what it was before the incentive scheme. He added that the current level is similar to what it had in August 2009.
He said that he expects that the year would end with sales of over 2 million vehicles. This statement was seconded by Flavien Neuvy, head of the automobile industry research unit at French consumer credit organisation Cetelem.