European auto sales down 15 per cent in December: PwC

As a result of declining sales automakers responded with plant closures and layoffs in 2012 to take effect in the coming years.

Comments Off January 22, 2013 at 1:24 pm by

According to a report from Pricewaterhouse Coopers (PwC) European auto sales took a big hit in December.

Citing European Union and European Free Trade Association (EU+EFTA) numbers, the report shows new car registrations declined 15.4 per cent to 843,000 units in December, bringing the 2012 year-end results down by 7.8 per cent to 12.53 million units. This is the fifth consecutive decline for the EU+EFTA’s new car registrations.

PwC Autofacts predicts that most markets will continue the current negative trend through the first half of 2013, but also expect the economic situation to stabilize mid-year allowing for growth to begin in some markets in the second half of the year.

Contributing to the problem is that austerity measures are still impacting economic growth, unemployment, and consumer confidence. These factors provide downside risks to the forecast that could push demand below 12 million units.

However, if the economy were to improve more rapidly than assumed, some markets could experience recovery due to pent up demand.

“During the past few years, automakers needed to cut costs throughout their organizations to offset the lacklustre sales throughout Europe,” said Giorgio Elefante, PwC automotive partner. “To consolidate costs, many automakers announced plant closures and layoffs in 2012 to take effect in the coming years. We will begin to see these cuts taking effect in 2013.”

The premium segment was affected the most and declined by 13.9 per cent, whereas the mini (20.3 per cent) and SUV (17.4 per cent) segments recorded double-digit growth.

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