Fleet News

European car sales tumble as UK rises

NEW car sales in western Europe will have tumbled by almost 4% this year, according to a new study produced by a German-based market research and consulting firm.

It suggests that 14.3 million units will have been sold by the end of the year compared to 14.84 million units last year, a drop of 4%. In Germany alone, registrations will decline for the third year running, says Marketing Systems in its Eurocar study.

The study suggests that sales in all other major markets will decline, in some cases substantially: France - 5.1%, Italy -8.6% and Spain -7.1%.

Only the UK will note a rise in sales – up by almost 3%.

It adds: 'This is attributed on the one hand to the UK's separation from adverse economic developments in the euro zone and on the other to demand being stimulated by significant price cuts.'

On the German situation, the report blames a 'deteriorating economy' and says the expected recovery has not taken place.

The company's market researchers describe the outlook for next year as 'at best, moderate'.

'With government policy replacing clear decisions with public discussions and no foreseeable increases in revenues, consumer confidence and consequently the inclination to spend have plunged to almost immeasurable depths,' it said.

However, it adds: 'Should the economic research institutes be right, the mood should improve in the early part of next summer, making the negative effects on car demand less severe than has been the case this year.' It adds that a topic of much discussion in the German automotive industry is the planned increase in tax on company cars.

As previously reported on fleetnewseurope.com, German fleets are facing a massive hike in company car tax as monthly taxes on corporate cars will rise from 1% to 1.5% of the list price. The law is likely to come into effect in March unless derailed by the opposition.

It was estimated that the new law could cost an individual an additional €100 per month on a €40,000 car.

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