Ford Europe: pricing pressure still very high; too early to say we’re out of recession image

New car sales in Europe are showing some signs of recovery, as recession ends in the 17 countries using the euro and new car sales in Germany, France and the U.K. rose in July.

Ford’s deliveries last month in Europe increased 8.7 percent from a year earlier to 90,000 vehicles, but even so, and even many industry executives believe the worst is now behind them, the Dearborn, Michigan-based automaker is caution.

“It’s a bit early to say that we’re now on the way up. Certainly the outlook has improved,” Roelant de Waard, head of sales and marketing for the Ford of Europe division told Bloomberg News in a phone interview.

On the same time, the automaker said that from a pricing perspective there are still a lot of problems as most of the customers are expecting very good deals.

“All customers seem to be aware that we are in a recession – as an industry, as a region – so they’re expecting very good deals,” Roelant de Waard said.

According to Reuters, in May discounts made by mass-market car brands rose 17 percent from a year earlier to an average 2,518 euros per vehicle.

Most of the executives still disagree on when European passenger car sales will finally rebound from a six-year slump. Rising unemployment will continue to sap consumer demand, Renault-Nissan CEO Carlos Ghosn said. “I am preparing Renault for several years of market stability – at best,” he said.

The good news is that Europe broke out of recession in the second quarter, ending its longest postwar contraction according to official data. Over all, gross domestic product in the zone grew 1.2 percent, according to Eurostat. However, only two countries recorded positive signals – Germany: + 0, 7 percent in the three months up to June and France +0,5 percent.

Although some of the economies in southern Europe are still shrinking, the rate of decline is slowing.