Data firm JATO says it has observed a significant contraction in Central and Eastern European (CEE) new car markets in the first half of 2009.
 
All the major volume brands, with the exception of KIA, have experienced a downturn in sales, as the region, once the star of performer in European new car sales, reflects the wider economic crisis.
 
In total, 504,641 cars were sold in CEE in the first six months of 2009.  Poland remains the largest market in the region, with sales of 168,888 in the period (up 0.1% on H1 2008) representing a third of all sales, having the distinction of being one of only two markets in the region to post a YtD sales rise.
 
Sharing this accolade was Slovakia, which saw YtD sales rise 3.6%, to 45,728 units. All other markets suffered sales falls, with Latvia (-73.7%), Lithuania (-67.9%), Estonia (-62.4%) and Croatia (-48.6%) amongst the worst affected.
 
“The brakes have been well and truly applied to the racing Central and Eastern Europe new car market,” says David Di Girolamo, Head of JATO Consult. “The recent growth enjoyed in these markets has put them on a level close the Western Europe, but this growth has now been severely affected by the recession.”
 
Another of the markets significantly affected by the downturn is Hungary which saw a 42,390 fall in units on the same period last year. Di Girolamo continues “the stricter loan policies introduced by financial institutions and the effects of an increase in VAT (20% to 25%) from 1st July aren’t helping the market to recover.


Industry experts and market analysts hoped that the srappage schemes which have stimulated western European markets could be introduced but there is no sign on the agenda for the near future”.


Brand Performance
Skoda was the region’s top-selling car brand in the first half of 2009, ahead of Volkswagen and Ford, showing the penetration of the major Western European brands into Eastern Europe.  However, all suffered losses and the only volume brand to post a rise in sales was Kia (up 3.5%, to 23,691 units in the period).


Model Performance
Skoda’s Octavia and Fabia took the top two sales spots in the first half of 2009, while the Dacia Logan saw a dramatic decline in sales (56.0%), to drop to third place by June 2009, from its top spot this time last year. 


The only really strong model performance was by the Fiat Punto, which improved 19.8%, to reach 5th place in the 2009 standings (14,237 units).  Kia Cee’d and Volkswagen Golf also posted sales rises, albeit more modest.


Regional Summary
























































































Country


H1 2009


H1 2008


Diff


% Change


Poland


168,888


168,645


243


0.1%


Czech Republic


85,608


93,765


-8,157


-8.7%


Romania


70,612


144,988


-74,376


-51.3%


Slovakia


45,728


44,118


1,610


3.6%


Hungary


39,613


82,003


-42,390


-51.7%


Slovenia


29,446


39,070


-9,624


-24.6%


Croatia


25,302


49,242


-23,940


-48.6%


Serbia


17,819


26,918


-9,099


-33.8%


Cyprus


8,478


11,801


-3,323


-28.2%


Estonia


5,725


15,206


-9,481


-62.4%


Lithuania


4,312


13,416


-9,104


-67.9%


Latvia


3,110


11,847


-8,737


-73.7%


Grand Total


504,641


701,019


-196,378


-28.0%



Top 10 Brands






































































Make


H1 2009


H1 2008


Diff


% Change


SKODA


62,123


84,714


-22,591


-26.7%


VOLKSWAGEN


39,019


51,762


-12,743


-24.6%


FORD


38,768


49,837


-11,069


-22.2%


RENAULT


35,323


46,852


-11,529


-24.6%


FIAT


33,028


33,671


-643


-1.9%


OPEL


31,449


55,491


-24,042


-43.3%


TOYOTA


29,672


43,546


-13,874


-31.9%


DACIA


27,160


46,050


-18,890


-41.0%


HYUNDAI


23,815


24,319


-504


-2.1%


KIA


23,691


22,883


808


3.5%



Top 10 Models






































































Model


H1 2009


H1 2008


Diff


% Change


SKODA OCTAVIA


28,995


36,486


-7,491


-20.5%


SKODA FABIA


24,981


38,637


-13,656


-35.3%


DACIA LOGAN


19,840


45,092


-25,252


-56.0%


KIA CEE’D


15,509


14,919


590


4.0%


FIAT PUNTO


14,237


11,883


2,354


19.8%


VOLKSWAGEN GOLF


13,646


13,319


327


2.5%


FORD FOCUS


11,678


19,792


-8,114


-41.0%


RENAULT MEGANE


11,656


12,152


-496


-4.1%


RENAULT CLIO


10,151


18,342


-8,191


-44.7%


TOYOTA YARIS


9,293


12,852


-3,559


-27.7%