French, German and Italian car sales fall in August while Spain stays solid image

New vehicle sales fell slightly in Germany, France and Italy in August, which is usually considered a weak vacation month throughout Europe, while Spain’s subsidy-led recovery kept its momentum.

Car registrations in Germany went down 0.4% to 213,092 vehicles sold, mainly because this year’s August had one less working day. Matthias Wissmann, president of the Automotive Industry in Germany (VDA) stated that he is still expecting the sector to reach its target of increasing annual sales to around 3 million in 2014 from 2.95 million in 2013.

Registrations in France slid 3% last month to 83,340 cars sold there. With one less selling day compared to the August from last year, the adjusted sales actually rose 2% in France according to the CCFA, the French automotive industry association.

In Italy, the vehicle sales dipped just 0.2% to 53,191 last month, but the eight-month sales are up 4% to 925,393 units sold until this September.

Automakers are expecting a slight growth in sales for the rest of the year as January-August orders grew 7% to 914,000 cars. The entire year sales are expected to reach 1.35 vehicles sold, which is an improvement from last year’s 1.3 million cars sold, the lowest since 1978.

Spain did not follow the same trend as Germany, France and Italy, having its sales up 14% to 45,355 cars sold. It was however helped by the government subsidy scheme that gives buyers of new cars a €2,000 rebate for turning in their old cars which need to be at least 10 years old. This rise was the 12th straight month of increased sales in Spain, with cars sold in the first eight months of 2014 reaching 583,663 units, a 16% increase.

By Gabriela Florea