Car sales across Europe hit the brakes in 2013

Ben Southwood
Follow Ben

NEW CAR registrations across the EU plunged to their worst February in over 10 years last month, according to numbers released yesterday.

Sales were 795,482 in February, figures from the Association of Constructors of European Automobiles (ACEA) showed, down 10.5 per cent over the year.

The sub-800,000 total for February was the worst total the month had seen since ACEA started collecting figures, the industry body told City A.M.

EU car industry hit by another catastrophic month

Taking the first two months together gave no better a picture of the industry, with registrations 9.5 per cent worse in the first two months of 2013 than in the same period in 2012.

The woe was spread across almost the entire bloc, with only the UK, Portugal, Latvia and Greece registering substantial boosts over the year.

By contrast, sales collapsed 45.5 per cent over the year in crisis-hit Cyprus, falling to just 643 for the country of around 1.1m, also plunging over a quarter in Finland and Netherlands – two Eurozone members who have avoided the worst of the bloc’s sovereign debt troubles.

Even euro area powerhouse Germany saw sales slide by double figures, from 224,318 in February last year to 200,683 in the same month this year – though this still left it with around 55,000 more sales than its nearest competitor France, where there were 143,255 sales last month.

Diving sales resulted in a bloodbath for car manufacturers, with only relative minnows Hyundai, Mazda, Jaguar Land Rover and Honda managing to grow their sales.

The behemoths of European car production all saw registrations of their cars crash – VW group sales plummeted 7.4 per cent to 195,608, Peugeot Citroen sales sagged 13.2 per cent to 100,450, and Renault sales dipped 8.5 per cent to 77,414.

Even worse hit were GM, where sales fell 20.6 per cent, Fiat, whose sales dropped 15.8 per cent, and Ford, where sales collapsed 21 per cent.