Europe: auto market seen out from recession image

The region’s main auto-industry group, ACEA, said that Europe’s car market will probably expand 2 % this year as demand gradually recovers from a two-decade low.

ACEA President Philippe Varin said at a press conference at the group’s Brussels headquarters that sales in the region, which have dropped for six consecutive years, will not return to pre-crisis levels in the “foreseeable future.” Full-year sales in Europe fell 1.8 % in 2013 to 12.3 million vehicles, the lowest figure since 1995, ACEA said on Jan. 16.

Delivery gains in December show that “the market may now clearly be bottoming out,” Varin said. “We are hopeful that this year will herald the transition toward a recovery.”

Industrywide deliveries in the European Union, excluding figures from Iceland, Norway and Switzerland that the ACEA also compiles, will probably increase to “just above” 12 million vehicles from about 11.8 million cars in 2013, said Varin, who is also CEO of PSA/Peugeot-Citroen.

Carmakers including Renault and Ford Ford, PSA and General Motors Co. are among carmakers shutting plants in Europe and scaling back workforces in response to the auto market’s decline.

German producers of luxury vehicles such as Mercedes-Benz and BMW kept their regional market share steady or increased it as demand remained stronger for high-end models than for mass-market vehicles.

Via Automotive News Europe