The Essen-based analyst and forecaster Marketing Systems is forecasting that Western Europe’s carmakers are set to see combined output drop by 16.3% from the second to the third quarter of this year – which includes the traditional summer holiday factory shut-downs. The fourth quarter is forecast to see a production rebound, with car production predicted to rise by 16.9%. 

Marketing Systems estimates that year on year car production in the eleven significant producing countries of Europe was down 3.86% at the end of the first half at 7,783,644 units. 

The current Marketing Systems forecast for full-year 2002 Western European car production is flat over 2001 – just 7,000 units more than were produced in 2001.

Marketing Systems also estimates that in 2002 it is Toyota (with the new Yaris), Honda (Civic and CR-V), and BMW Group (new models including the MINI) who have contributed most strongly to maintain the pace of European car production.

Toyota’s first-quarter output, for example, was 77.2% up on Q1 2001, and 57.7% up year-on-year in the second quarter. Honda likewise managed to raise output by 69.2% in Q1 and by 58.3% in Q2.  MG Rover’s progress in the first quarter (+12.3% year on year) was knocked back by 25.6% in Q2, thanks in part to stoppages caused by major parts logistics problems.

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Ford Group production, including the PAG member brands, fell in the first quarter but was level with 2001 figures by the end of the second quarter, while GM Group, with output down 18.2% in Q1 and 9.0% in Q2, is expected to see it rise again in Q3.

Germany, Western Europe’s largest vehicle manufacturing country, which accounts for a third of all car production, saw output fall by 1.6% year on year in the second quarter, and Marketing Systems expects a further fall in the current three-month period.

Six of the manufacturing countries surveyed experienced falling output in Q2, Britain and France being the exceptions among volume manufacturing countries.  Year-on-year growth of assembly volume in Britain is forecast to accelerate to 14.3% in Q3, and the full-year total is forecast to be no less than 42% up on the record volume of 2001.
Of the major volume producing countries, Germany’s 2002 total is currently forecast to be 4.81m units, 3.4% down on 2001. France is forecast to produce 3.29m cars, representing growth of 3.5%.  Britain’s car producers are forecast to increase output collectively by an impressive 42% to 1.68 units.  Spain faces a 20% drop to 2.28m, while Fiat’s problems notwithstanding, Marketing Systems currently expects Italy to produce 1.26m cars, less than 1% down on last year.