Total car sales in Europe dropped 10 percent in March 2013 as the vehicle market in the region suffered its 18th straight monthly decline in deliveries. The vehicle sales situation in Europe was further aggravated by the steep drop in Germany, which is considered as one of the largest markets in the continent. According to industry association ACEA, registrations in the EU and EFTA markets dropped to 1.35 million vehicles in March from 1.5 million a year earlier.
First quarter sales also dropped 9.7 percent to 3.1 million cars. Car sales in Germany dropped 17 percent in March, which means that it has the steepest fall among the biggest vehicle markets in Europe.
Car sales in the United Kingdom, meanwhile, jumped 5.9 percent, allowing the country to overtake Germany in deliveries in March, according to ACEA. Hans-Peter Wodniok, an analyst at Fairesearch, remarked to Bloomberg that the car boom in Germany “has come to an end,” noting that people have stopped buying cars as consumers are much less confident of the future.
Max Warburton, an analyst at Sanford C. Bernstein, wrote in a report that the western European passenger-car market is on track in 2013 to hit levels last seen in 1993, adding that “Germany seems to be in a free-fall." He said that while unit profitability in Germany is not nearly as high as China, it remains a critical driver of German carmakers' earnings, adding that the current trend is “quite disturbing."
PSA saw its sales in Europe drop 16 percent in March. Market leader Volkswagen Group saw European sales dive 9.3 percent, with the VW brand declining 15 percent. Ford and GM posted a 16-percent and 13-percent drops in sales in Europe respectively. GM’s Chevrolet suffered a 28-percent drop in Europe, followed by 10-percent declines in its Opel and Vauxhall divisions. Japanese carmakers Toyota and Nissan logged 17-percent and 10-percent drops respectively. While Hyundai succumbed to a 10-percent decline in March, it South Korean affiliate Kia saw sales in Europe surge 4 percent.