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June 2, 2003

UK: Car maker investments in central Europe pay off

Substantial investments in central Europe are helping some mass-market car makers boost their total European market share, according to Automotive News Europe.

By bcusack

Substantial investments in central Europe are helping some mass-market car makers boost their total European market share, according to Automotive News Europe.

With nine assembly and powertrain plants in central Europe, the Volkswagen group is the biggest winner. First-quarter sales data from Jato Dynamics shows the group is even more dominant there than in the west. A 29.5% share in nine central Europe countries boosted VW’s 27-country European share to 19.5%, compared with 17.1% for western Europe.

Renault, which owns Romanian car maker Dacia, took 14.9% of central European first-quarter sales. The 126,748 units were 33% of its total European sales — and increased Renault’s 27-country share to 11.1%, giving it the No. 3 position. In western Europe, Renault is No. 4 behind Ford with a 10.1% share.

Of Europe’s six largest car makers, Ford is the only one with no plants or commitments to build in central Europe. Its 4.9% share there cut its 11.7% share for western Europe to 10.5% overall.

The results show why PSA/Peugeot-Citroen is building two assembly plants in central Europe: in Slovakia and a joint-venture Czech plant with Toyota.

In western Europe, No. 2 PSA trails VW group by 1.4%, but in 27-market Europe, PSA is behind, 19.5% to 14.2%. With 865,489 sales in the quarter, central Europe accounted for 18.7 % of total Europe volume, up from 18% in 2002, Automotive News Europe noted.

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