Year-on-year declines were seen in all auto markets, car sales in Western Europe falling 11.4% in February to 851,500 units.
For January and February LMC Automotive estimates that car sales in Western Europe were a little under 1.8 million units, 9.8% below the same period in 2011. Two of those contributing most to the February fall were the French (-20%) and Italian (-18.9%) car markets. French market’s weak February 2012 result compares to February 2011 when the spillover of scrappage scheme sales were helping inflate registration figures, and the sales under 2 million indicate that the French market is being held back by a weakening economy.
Germany also saw a decrease of 0.1%, and the year-to-date market was down by 0.2%. The Spanish sales didn’t make any progress either in February, the selling rate continuing to hover around the 800,000 units a year mark. Although all the markets saw a decrease in February’s sales, LMC declared that the annualized selling rate was an improvement from January, helped by a strong SAAR in Germany (3.5 million units). LMC said that the flat result in Germany was ‘respectable given the ongoing difficulties faced by the eurozone’.