Fleet News

European car sales show 5% decline

OVERALL demand for cars in Europe slowed marginally in April although they were better than experts had predicted.

Analysis group JD Power said much of the decline was caused by a drop in sales in Italy. Overall, the average European selling rate was down 5% on last year.

The war in Iraq also failed to have a bearing on sales, according to the analysis provider.

Spain proved to be one of the only countries to produce encouraging results.

Sales in Spain were up 6.3% on last year and a spokesman for JD Power said: 'This suggests that demand has flattened out after the decline that set in during the final months of last year.'

French sales remained fairly consistent with previous months but with car sales standing at 180,824 to April 2003, business stands at a low level.

Some of the smaller European countries including Belgium, Greece and Norway failed to produce any startling recoveries, with year-on-year comparisons remaining low at -16.5%, -19% and -20.5% respectively.

Austria did manage to reverse the decline, with sales climbing 5.7% during the year alongside the Netherlands up 2.8% and Ireland up 1.6% (see table).

European car sales
April 2003 April 2002 % change YTD YTD 2003 % 2002 change
Europe: 1,233,393 1,321,217 -6.6 5,065,379 5,263,522 -3.8
Austria: 32,063 30,320 5.7 107,211 103,675 3.4
Belgium: 43,326 51,858 -16.5 185,072 213,192 -13.2
Denmark: 8,936 10,035 -10.9 30,431 35,440 -14.1
Finland: 12,981 11,099 17.0 50,014 41,210 21.4
France: 180,824 208,094 -13.1 702,624 771,226 -8.9
Germany: 285,000 304,326 -6.4 1,071,854 1,102,847 -2.8
Greece: 23,779 29,365 -19.0 93,977 101,137 -7.2
Ireland 15,729 15,480 1.6 85,946 89,537 -4.0
Italy: 182,800 197,619 -7.5 876,276 866,182 1.2
Luxembourg: 5,242 5,276 -0.6 18,553 18,635 -0.4
Netherlands: 41,500 40,355 2.8 193,852 200,797 -3.5
Norway 7,024 8,833 -20.5 27,484 30,311 -9.3
Portugal 17,108 18,893 -9.4 64,926 81,163 -20.0
Spain 126,831 119,271 6.3 454,942 464,745 -2.1
Sweden: 23,664 24,311 -2.7 87,277 82,381 5.9
Switzerland: 29,773 32,106 -7.3 90,883 102,350 -11.2
UK* 196,812 213,976 -8.0 924,156 958,694 -3.6
* Figure includes estimate for non-dealer sales
Source: JD Power/LMC

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