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New Car Sales Expected to Rise Again in Europe This Year

Analysts warn auto sales are still “fragile” on the continent.

by on Jan.19, 2015

European auto sales are expected to rise again in 2015 with products like Opel's new Corsa available, but the market is still shaky.

Car sales in Europe are expected to grow in 2015 marking the second year in row the struggling market could post gains. However, one analyst is exercising caution regarding the increase claiming the market is still fragile.

IHS Automotive predicts sales could grow by 2.5% in 2015 after rising by 5.7% in 2014. Last year’s increase was the first in six years since the Great Recession sent the European car industry into a tailspin.

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Registrations during the year rose to 12.55 million units. The sales trend in Europe has been steady monthly increases with December marking the 16th straight month of gains. Registrations grew 4.7% year-over-year to 951,329 units in December. (more…)

European Car Market Still a Mess, Warns Marchionne

Fiat Chrysler CEO also raises concerns about Toledo Jeep plant.

by on Oct.07, 2014

New emissions standards, in general, are “one of the toughest issues we face,” said Sergio Marchionne, during the Paris Motor Show.

The large crowds pouring in for this year’s Paris Motor Show have given hope to industry planners waiting to see if the long European automotive recession has finally come to an end. But despite recent signs of a sales upturn, not everyone is convinced the world’s third-largest car market is finally in recovery mode.

“I’ve never been a firm believer in the recovery of Europe,” said Fiat Chrysler Automobile CEO Sergio Marchionne, during a meeting with reporters. “There are still some problems that plague us in getting this machine going again.”

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Like a number of other industry leaders, Marchionne’s confidence appears to have been further shaken by last week’s announcement that Ford would not see the turnaround it had expected in Europe this year. That revelation triggered a sharp run on the maker’s stock, which fell nearly 20% in a matter of days. (more…)

European Luxury Brands Riding US, China Sales

Off-continent sales insulate makers from tough environment.

by on Mar.19, 2014

The Bentley GT Speed convertible is one of several recent additions helping buoy the marque's sales.

European car sales were up for the sixth month in a row; however, that bit of good news comes on the heels of the market suffering its worst downturn in decades, which is to say oftentimes good news is relative.

February sales rose 8% in February to 861,058 units, according to European Automobile Manufacturers’ Association. It was still the second-worst February ever. In short, it’s getting better, but there’s still a long way to go.

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However, luxury automakers have been bustling along during the downturn as if nothing had changed from the European market’s heyday. (more…)

BMW Earnings Fall 8.8% on Weak European Sales, Product Investments

German maker cites cash outlay for new models and 20-year sales low for Q2 drop.

by on Aug.02, 2013

BMW attributed part of its Q2 earnings drop to the cash it spent on the new i3 city car.

Despite a double-digit sales gain in the United States and China, BMW posted a disappointing 8.8% drop in earnings before interest and taxes in the second quarter. Revenue for the quarter was up 1.8%.

The earnings decline is being attributed to the sluggish European economy where cars sales are at a 20-year low and capital outlays to expand factories and produce carbon-fiber parts for its first electric car. BMW’s EBIT fell to 2.07 billion euros from 2.27 billion euros, the company reported.

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BMW CEO Norbert Reithofer said the German automaker would continue to invest in new technology in an effort to make the company’s cars cleaner and greener. (more…)

European Car Sales Plunge to 20-Year Low

Plenty of losers - but a handful of winners.

by on Jul.17, 2013

Emerging from the gloom? Land Rover was one of the few brands posting a sales upturn.

Despite hopes that the European market might have finally bottomed out, car sales for the first half of 2013 plunged to a 20-year low, according to industry data, with little sign that the downturn is about to reverse itself.

According to new data from the European Automobile Manufacturers Association, or ACEA, new vehicle registrations continued to slip with a decline of 6.3% in June, bringing total sales for the first six months of the year to just 6.44 million, a 6.7% drop.

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“Little will change until the middle of next year,” warned BMW CEO Nobert Reithofer in a German interview, predicting the market will be down about 5% for all of 2013. “Perhaps we will see a slight pick-up in Western Europe in the second half of 2014.”

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European Car Sales Plunge to Their Lowest Level in 20 Years

Is the glass finally half-full?

by on Jun.18, 2013

Even with its European Car-of-the-Year, the Golf, Volkswagen took a sales hit last month.

With the continent’s economy still in free-fall, European car sales tumbled to their lowest level for May in two decades, according to the industry’s trade association.

Passenger car sales dropped 5.9% for the month compared to year-earlier levels.  At just 1.042 million vehicles, that’s the lowest recorded by the 27-country European Union since May 1993.  For the calendar-year-to-date, trade group ACEA reports EU sales are down 6.8%, to 5.07 million.

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With rare exception – sales actually rose slightly in April – the European auto market has been sharply sliding for the last half-decade, a situation worsened by the debt crisis that has threatened to plunge Portugal and several other countries into default and even lead to the demise of the common currency, the Euro.

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European Automakers Compound Their Own Crisis

“Unsustainable” practices conceal depth of crisis, worsen losses.

by on Oct.02, 2012

VW's Winterkorn and Fiat's Marchionne emerge from a meeting aimed at resolving their mounting differences.

Few doubt the European automotive industry’s downward spiral will get worse before things start to improve. But there are growing concerns that the industry is compounding its own problem with “unsustainable” practices that conceal the depth of the downturn while running up losses that have already climbed into the billions of Euros.

And there are few signs that industry leaders – or government regulators – are ready to come together on a common solution that can resolve endemic problems, such as overcapacity, only made worse by the broader European economic meltdown.

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“We are not very bullish about Europe next year,” said a glum Carlos Ghosn, CEO of the Renault-Nissan Alliance, during an appearance at the Paris Motor Show.  “We do not see a rebound in Europe for several years.”

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VW, Fiat CEOs Paper Up Angry Dispute

Winterkorn, Marchionne find some common ground over industry crisis.

by on Sep.28, 2012

Smiling faces? VW's Martin Winterkorn and Fiat's Sergio Marchionne emerge from a meeting aimed at resolving their vocal and public differences. Photo credit: Bloomberg Television.

Two of Europe’s top automotive executives have – at least for now — papered over an increasingly fractious dispute that threatened to further divide an industry facing a sharp slump in sales and increasingly serious losses.

The dispute between Volkswagen CEO Martin Winterkorn and Fiat CEO Sergio Marchionne has been brewing for months but seemed to reach a new level of frustration in the build up to the 2012 Paris Motor Show – which industry officials have hoped might help rekindle European consumers’ love affair with the automobile.

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The two executives emerged from a meeting of the European automotive trade group ACEA, Friday morning, shaking hands and promising to work together to find common ground in an industry expected to reach a 17-year low in sales this year. The move preserves Marchionne’s role as the chairman of the group – a pulpit he has used to try to get reluctant German makers to agree to steps that could help ailing rivals, especially those from France and Italy.

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Analysts Call on GM to Dump Opel

“Find a new home” for faltering brand.

by on Sep.06, 2012

GM CEO Dan Akerson is coming under increasing pressure to fix -- or dump -- Opel.

General Motors Chairman and CEO Dan Akerson recently let his guard down for a brief moment, hinting GM made a mistake by not selling off its Opel brand back in 2009, shortly after the U.S. giant emerged from bankruptcy.

Apparently, a growing list of analysts and other observers would agree, warning that the U.S. maker simply won’t be able to stop the hemorrhaging of the German-based Opel which is now heading for a 13th year of red ink.

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“One of the worst things in the auto industry is owning a cash-burning, resource-consuming business,” warns Adam Jonas, lead auto analyst for Morgan Stanley, who has now downgraded GM shares to “overweight,” largely due to the continuing problems the maker has in Europe. “We believe the time has come for GM to find a new home for Opel.”

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First Look: Ford’s Updated Fiesta

One of several new products debuting later this week.

by on Sep.05, 2012

Ford CEO Alan Mulally will reveal several new products, including the updated Fiesta, during an event in Amsterdam.

Hoping to reverse the company’s huge losses in Europe, Ford CEO Alan Mulally will pull the wraps off an assortment of new products later this week at the maker’s “Go Further” product preview.

Among the new and updated vehicles slated for unveiling at the Amsterdam event is the revised Ford Fiesta, the 3- and 5-door versions shown here.  The subcompact will now share key styling cues seen on other recent Ford models, notably the distinctive trapezoidal grille from the all-new Ford Fusion debuting in the U.S. for 2013 – and which will be sold in Europe as the next-generation Mondeo.

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“Fiesta has been one of the world’s best-loved small cars across five decades, and the sporty appeal of the last generation Fiesta inspired real passion among global compact car customers, contributing to its status as the world’s most successful small car,” said Martin Smith, Ford of Europe executive design director. “We had to keep that vital part of Fiesta’s make-up – but we also wanted to give it a more sophisticated look.”

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