European passenger car sales have been on a dry streak for the past six years and as always analysts and automakers try to see the light at the end of the tunnel – unfortunately they also agree to disagree on the matter.
Europe has always been a very important market for the automakers and they need a rebound in car sales as soon as possible. Still, the analysts and companies have different opinions on when will that actually happen – with Ford and Daimler seeing signs that the bottom will be reached this year and Renault’s CEO Carlos Ghosn not being very optimistic.
“We’re not predicting any upturn yet, but there are certainly some good indications,” Ford of Europe CEO Stephen Odell said last month. “Our prediction would be that we’re at or close to be trough.”
Daimler said falling demand “seems to have bottomed out in Western Europe.” The second half likely will bring gradual improvement, the company said during its second-half results presentation last month.
On the other hand Ghosn has something else to say on the matter: “More realistically, we may see another decrease — maybe not as violent or as deep as the ones we have seen for the last years.”
Specialists at AlixPartners tend to agree with Renault-Nissan’s boss, predicting Western sales not recovering during this decade – main reasons cited being unemployment, reduced spending power and the lack of confidence on the consumer side.
Still, not all analysts predict a grim future, as financial analysts at Morgan Stanley and market analysts at IHS Automotive tend to agree on a slow but steady recovery of the market, starting 2014, although none of them risks predicting sales reaching the 2007 peak.