You are here

European car sales heading for flat year despite boost in November

Munich

EUROPEAN car sales rose 4.5 per cent in November, the third straight monthly gain for carmakers that have been battered all year by economic woes, trade wars and a broader industry slowdown.

The monthly rise wasn't enough to turn the year around so far, with cumulative sales since January still down 0.3 per cent, the European Automobile Manufacturers Association said in a statement on Tuesday. Four of the region's five biggest markets registered a drop since the start of the year.

Like the two previous months, the November figure was helped by a low base for comparison in 2018, when sales dropped off sharply due to carmakers' difficulties adapting to new rules on emissions.

The exception was Germany, where sales have risen 3.9 per cent so far this year. The Stoxx Europe 600 Automobiles & Parts index of companies fell 0.4 per cent in early trading.

In order to avoid a drop for the whole of 2019, European car sales will have to increase by roughly 4.2 per cent in December compared with last year. They fell 0.04 per cent for all of 2018.

The latest regional statistics indicate the year is shaping up to be lacklustre. The industry is battling a slowdown, while under pressure to spend huge sums to develop electric and self-driving vehicles.

Among the carmakers reporting to the association, known as ACEA, Nissan Motor Corp had the biggest sales decline so far this year, registering a 23 per cent drop, while its partner Renault SA's sales fell 0.8 per cent. Toyota Motor Corp and Daimler AG led increases with 3.7 per cent and 3.6 per cent respectively.

Some carmakers have deepened ties or decided to merge, while manufacturers worldwide are eliminating more than 80,000 jobs in the coming years, according to data compiled by Bloomberg News, as they push to lower costs. BLOOMBERG