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Euro car sales down again as UK growth continues

The gloomy state of the European car market was further highlighted as figures just released show that car sales for March 2013 were down 10.3% from a year earlier. A report from ACEA (the Association of European Carmakers) revealed that most manufacturers saw a drop in European sales with the worst affected being Toyota and Peugeot Citroen (PSA).

The gloomy state of the European car market was further highlighted as figures just released show that car sales for March 2013 were down 10.3% from a year earlier. A report from ACEA (the Association of European Carmakers) revealed that most manufacturers saw a drop in European sales with the worst affected being Toyota and Peugeot Citroen (PSA). It seems that the continued economic crisis throughout Europe is stifling car sales, with the steady decline now lasting for nearly six years. In stark contrast, the UK was the sole country in Europe to see a rise in sales during March, with new registrations up nearly 6% on the same period last year.

Perhaps surprisingly, Germany, which has the largest and best performing economy within the EU, suffered the steepest decline, with sales dropping by 17.1%. In second place was France, which is experiencing much tougher economic conditions, where sales dropped by 16.2%. The poor performance across Europe came despite almost all car manufacturers offering customers large incentives to buy new vehicles. According to Reuters news agency, average sales incentives in the big five European markets of Germany, UK, France, Italy and Spain, rose 13% to 2,400 Euros or £2,000 per vehicle.

In total, around 1.31 million cars were sold across Europe during March. Both PSA and Toyota saw drops of around 16% and Volkswagen was not much further behind with sales decreasing by 15%. Sales at General Motors, who operate for the most part in Europe as Opel, dropped by nearly 13%. French car giant PSA had previously predicted a 5% drop during 2013 but their chief executive officer, Philippe Varin, has since indicated that the outlook has deteriorated.

British car maker Jaguar was the only car maker to enjoy any major gains, bucking the overall trend with a 21% sales increase. Mercedes also saw a very modest increase of less than one per cent over last year's figures. In better news for Toyota, the Japanese car maker announced that sales of its Prius and other hybrid cars have now topped five million. Total global hybrid sales for Toyota hybrids was 5.125 million to the end of March, accounting for some 14% of the company's total sales. French car maker, Renault, is investing heavily in electric vehicles and with the launch particularly of the ground breaking Zoe model at £13,650, it too is hoping on better times ahead.

 

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