Europe: January shows early signs of continued recovery image

The old continent emerged last year from a six-year slump induced by the latest Great Recession, though not before posting two-decade low sales figures in the process. Now, the overall figures posted last year showed early signs of recovery.

But, unlike the champion US market, which looks to be on its way to the sixth straight yearly gain in 2015, the European continent remains a troubled affair for the automakers. Weighed down by the prospects of a prolonged currency deflation and in turmoil in various zones, the region continued to post mixed results through last year. Now, the first month of the year shows incipient positive signs, with the continent’s largest economy and auto market seeing deliveries surge 2.6 percent to a total of 211,337 units, according to he KBA federal transport authority. “European auto sales are off to a strong start,” analysts at Evercore ISI said in an investors’ note. The growth in Germany, coupled with rises in France, Italy and Spain came even as January had one less working day than in 2014.

In France, new car registrations grew 5.9 percent to 132,824 vehicles last month, paring a three-month drop. Italy, which has been among the battered markets – together with Spain – had new car sales jumping 11 percent to 131,385 autos. Spain’s deliveries remained spectacular, buoyed by the ongoing governmental subsidy program and were up 28 percent to 68,118 units, surging for the 17th month in a row. In Germany, the leading Volkswagen brand soared 8.9 percent, followed by Opel with a 9.2 percent rise. Additional strong gains were posted by Mitsubishi, Lexus and Nissan – while Ford’s volume dropped 14 percent.

Via Automotive News Europe, Reuters