Data released by ACEA for September car sales in the EU shows big declines in European car sales for a number of volume makers as car demand across the region fell for the twelfth consecutive month.

Renault was hit particularly hard by the French car market being down by 17.9% last month. The company’s car sales (group sales, including Dacia) in the EU were down a staggering 29.5% on last year. For the year to date to the end of September, Renault Group sales in the EU stand at 790,324 units, some 17.7% off last year’s pace.

Fiat Group also emerged as a major loser in the EU car market last month, with sales down 18.5% as the Italian car market plummeted by 25.7%.

General Motors was down 16.2% on last year and it was another tough month for Ford with its sales down 14.9% on last year.

There were some gains for premium brands and Asians. September year-on-year sales gains were recorded by the BMW (+10.5%), Land Rover (+22.9%), Hyundai (+3.9%), Kia (+3.4%), Toyota (+1.7%) and Honda (+5.5%) brands. 

ACEA noted that car sales in the EU area last month recorded the twelfth consecutive month of decline. Sales were down 10.8% at 1,099,264 units and confirmed figures released by LMC for Western Europe earlier this month. Nine months into the year, the downturn reached 7.6%, with a total of 9,368,327 new cars sold in the EU.

Looking at the major markets, the British car market was the only one to expand in September (+4.3%), while Germany (-10.9%), France (-17.9%), Italy (-25.7%) and Spain (-36.8%) all faced a double-digit downturn.

Peter Fuss, Senior Advisory Partner, Ernst & Young Global Automotive Centre, said that industry profits will continue to be challenged due to weak demand in Europe and the high level of incentives, including record discounts, being employed to make sales.
 
“The trend of self-registrations is expected to continue until there is a rise in demand or capacity rationalisation. As a result of this and the record discounts being offered on cars, industry profits will continue to be challenged. This is an area of serious concern, since such incentives cannot be sustained in the medium or long term and are only delaying an inevitable downward correction in sales to match real demand,” he said.

“Shrinking sales volumes further exacerbate the capacity issue in Europe, with overall light vehicle production estimated at around 80% of peak production in 2007. The majority of the most significant production cuts will be made in the volume, non-premium segment vehicles,” he added.

See also: UK: West European car market down 11.4% in September