European Car Sales Decline in January

Germany registered the most vehicles (211,056), followed by France (185,521), Italy (164,356), UK (128,811), Netherlands (75,174) and Spain (53,632).

European registrations of new cars at 1,041,650 units decreased by 1.4% in January 2011 compared to the same month last year.

Individual country markets showed different results year-on-year (y-o-y) as France (+8.2%) and Germany (+16.5%) showed growth, with the UK (-11.5%), Italy (-20.7%) and Spain (-23.5%) registering double-digit downturns.

For U.S. taxpayers and workers with substantial stakes in Fiat-controlled Chrysler and GM there were uneven results. Chrysler sold a mere 2,353 vehicles in January, down 24%. The Opel/Vauxhall subsidiary of GM posted a rise of 6% to 72,553 vehicles helped by growth in Germany.

Chrysler CEO Sergio Marchionne maintains that Lancia can increase Chrysler sales by distributing its cars, and Jeep has substantial room for growth.

Opel, with more than 40,000 employees in Europe, lost the owners of GM, including U.S. and Canadian taxpayers and workers, more than $1.1 billion in the first three quarters of 2010, with the final results not in yet. GM maintains it will be profitable next year.

In total, Germany registered the most vehicles (211,056), followed by France (185,521), Italy (164,356), the UK (128,811), the Netherlands (75,174) and Spain (53,632).

The largest contraction was observed in Greece (-63.3%) no surprise, while Latvia expanded the most (+126.4%), albeit from very low levels a year ago.

Volkswagen Group (Audi, Bentley, Bugatti Lamborghini Seat, Skoda and VW) continues to dominate in Europe with a 22% share, ahead of PSA Group (Peugeot and Citroen) at 13.6% and Renault Group (Renault and Dacia) at 10%.

After these leaders there is a close race, with Ford at 8% of the market, down almost a percent y-o-y, followed by GM Group (Opel/Vauxhall, Chevrolet) at 7.9%, Fiat Group at 7.5% – off almost two share points, and BMW Group (BMW and Mini) at 5.2%. Then there’s Toyota Group (Toyota, Lexus) at 4.8%, Daimler (Mercedes and Smart) at 4.4%, and Nissan at 3.3% rounding out the top ten.

About Ken Zino

Ken Zino is an auto industry veteran with global experience in print, broadcast and electronic media. He has auto testing, marketing, public relations and communications expertise garnered while working in Asia, Europe and the U.S.
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