Europe: auto market finally shows positive signs for 2015 image

In 2014 the continent’s six-year sales drop finally halted – though not before yielding two-decade lows. Now, after last year more than 80 % of the brands competing in Europe reported yearly gains, industry experts and analysts foresee a timely rebound.

While industry watchers are still cautious and predict a modest uptick in sales for 2015, companies – including loss-making Ford and Fiat have already moved positively towards increasing production output and securing more staff. Overall, only five brands reported negative sales in 2014 compared to 2013 figures, according to European automakers association ACEA. Additionally, the tally last year was 5 percent up overall from the two-decade low seen in 2013 and 16 of the 31 brands tracked posted above average results. The top brands that reported the best overall growth last year were Jeep (+70 percent), Lexus (+30 percent) and Mitsubishi (+25 percent). On the other hand, they were outflanked by the automakers with the largest unit increases – Renault (up by 73,231 vehicles), Skoda (+70,968) and Dacia (+68,668). The latter three, supported by crucial new model introductions, were responsible for 32 percent of the total increase of 669,568 autos last year – which finished with sales of 13,006,451 units.

Analysts at EY and IHS though caution that European deliveries in 2015 are not expected to rise faster than 3 percent to 4 percent – to around 13.3 million. They say that self-registrations, heavy discounting and other types of buyer incentives have a deep impact on the true level of demand in the region. Fiat Chrysler Automobiles last month announced it hired another 1,500 workers in Italy to support Jeep renegade and Fiat 500X production at the Melfi plant, while Ford said it was increasing output at its two German factories to cope with demand.

Via Automotive News Europe