Europe: shaky recovery in August sees sales rising 1.8% image

Passenger car deliveries in Europe last month painted a grey picture over the long-awaited market recovery. Germany, the region’s biggest market lost ground in August and countries such as Spain and Ireland saved the overall sales.

Total sales in the European Union (EU) and the countries of the European Free Trade Area (EFTA) went up just 1.8%, reaching 701,118 units in August – as opposed to 688,464 vehicles in the same month of 2013, according to figures from the Association of European Carmakers (ACEA).

Volume automakers such as Volkswagen, Ford or Opel benefited from the sales lift in Spain, Portugal and Ireland, but premium automakers lost customers because of declining demand in Germany.

“We have to find the right balance between volume and pricing,” BMW Chief Executive Norbert Reithofer told analysts in August. “If you reduce your volume, you can even have a better profit.”

The recovery in formerly economically damaged countries such as Spain, Portugal or Greece brought increases at VW (up 14%), Ford (up 15.2%) or Opel (up 7.5%). On the other hand BMW registrations dipped 2%, Mercedes-Benz slipped 3.9% and Audi lost 7.6%.

Germany, a traditional premium market, saw deliveries slide 0.4%, followed by Italy with a smaller 0.2% fall and France with a 2.6% drop. Meanwhile, registrations jumped 26% in Portugal and 13.7% in Spain.

Via Reuters