Fleet News

Early Easter blamed for drop in March car sales

NEW car sales across Europe have fallen - with a drop in March being blamed on an earlier Easter break and a sluggish economy. Figures produced by the European Automobile Manufacturers' Association show that sales during March were down by more than 4% compared to the same month last year - but an earlier Easter has been blamed for the fall.

Sales totalled 1,709,616 units in March this year, compared to 1,793,607 during the same month last year.

A spokesman said: 'While these figures are heavily influenced by the Easter break falling this year in the month of March, which implied at least one but up to three working days less depending on the country, they also confirm the sluggish economic environment in the first quarter of 2005.'

Cumulative figures for the year to date show a fall of 3.3% across the whole of Europe. Sales were down to 3,986,749 units from 4,121,799 during the same period the previous year.

Country Jan-Mar 05 Jan-Mar 04 Variance
Austria 74,310 75,616 -1.7%
Belgium 147,998 157,677 -6.1%
Denmark 31,259 25,541 +22.4%
Finland 42,266 43,038 -1.8%
France 526,450 506,884 +3.9%
Germany 750,798 765,266 -1.9%
Greece 77,838 81,382 -4.4%
Ireland 88,029 76,932 +14.4%
Italy 638,745 677,402 -5.7%
Luxembourg 13,190 13,933 -5.3%
Netherlands 150,621 155,846 -3.4%
Portugal 52,460 50,080 +4.8%
Spain 373,694 374,064 -0.1%
Sweden 59,556 58,887 +1.1%
UK 701,506 756,005 -7.2%
European Union (EU15) 3,728,720 3,818,553 -2.4%
Iceland 3,572 2,426 +47.2%
Norway 25,193 27,489 -8.4%
Switzerland 56,472 62,922 -10.3%
EFTA* 85,237 92,837 -8.2%
EU15+EFTA 3,813,957 3,911,390 -2.5%
Czech Republic 27,844 28,713 -3.0%
Estonia 4,183 3,918 +6.8%
Hungary 41,909 45,678 -8.3%
Latvia 2,918 2,334 +25.0%
Lithuania 2,384 2,092 +14.0%
Poland 66,005 98,460 -33.0%
Slovakia 11,613 11,923 -2.6%
Slovenia 15,936 17,291 -7.8%
EU new members 172,792 210,409 -17.9%
European Union (EU23) 3,901,512 4,028,962 -3.2%
Total Europe 3,986,749 4,121,79 -3.3%

*European Fair Trade Association

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