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European Car Sales Post Biggest Gain in Five Years

June numbers jump 15%.

by on Jul.16, 2015

The Nissan Sway concept at its Geneva Auto Show debut. Nissan is ahead of Toyota in European sales so far this year.

Despite the threat of a Greek banking collapse and a breakup of the Euro Zone, European car sales posted their biggest gain in five years, surging 15% in June.

Marking the region’s 22nd consecutive month of growth, Europe has now seen an 8% rise in sales since the beginning of 2015, though volume is still well off from the industry peak. Nonetheless, the latest upturn is good news for an industry that has lost billions of dollars in the region and struggled with massive excess capacity.

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“This is all good news if this trend continues,” said Carlos Da Silva, an analyst with IHS Automotive, who described the upturn as “robust” and “quite convincing.”

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Europe Back in Gear: Sales Grow for 18th Consecutive Month

But recovery likely to be slow, less than phenomenal.

by on Mar.17, 2015

Nissan-Renault's Carlos Ghosn expects the growth of auto sales in Europe to continue to slowly increase for some time.

European automakers have another reason to celebrate today, an industry group confirming that sales on the Continent rose in February, the 18th consecutive month of increased demand.

There is now general consensus that the European auto market’s worst recession since World War II has ended. But there’s far less agreement over the form the recovery will take.

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Expect to see “slow growth … for a long time, 2 to 3% a year,” forecast Carlos Ghosn, CEO of the Renault-Nisan Alliance, during an appearance at the Geneva Motor Show earlier this month. (more…)

Fiat Dropping $12.3-Billion to Jump Start Europe Sales

Maker’s market share has dropped three points in four years.

by on Dec.10, 2013

Fiat is looking to pump up its European sales bolstering sales of its luxury lines, including Maserati.

Fiat SpA plans to drop $12.3 billion to breathe new life into the company’s sluggish sales in Europe. The plan is to put the Italian automaker back on the road to profitability with annual losses ending within the next three years.

The company plans to focus on jump starting the sales of its 500 subcompact and Panda small car as well as its pricier Maserati and Alfa Romeo lines, according to reports. In the past, Fiat said it planned to develop 20 new models for Europe by 2016, including eight Alfa Romeos. However, the company has repeatedly begged off providing any updates on its strategy, saying only it will provide more insight second quarter of 2014.

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In addition to the aforementioned products, it’s also introducing a lineup of Jeeps next year that will be built in Italy. Also expected is the replacement of the Fiat Punto with a five-door version of the 500, which will likely be built in Poland to save on labor costs. Wages for auto workers there are 75% lower than those in Italy. (more…)

GM Pulling Chevrolet from Europe in 2016

Plan gives Opel one less competitor in market.

by on Dec.05, 2013

GM is pulling its Chevy brand from Europe, hoping to bolster sales for its Opel and Vauxhall brands.

General Motors is yanking its Chevrolet brand from most of Europe by 2016 hoping it will bolster sales for its Opel and Vauxhall brands. Russia and the Commonwealth of Independent States will still sell Chevy vehicles.

Chevy’s departure from Europe came in a surprise overnight news release. The brand has long been the dominant one for GM in its home North American market, but has had a less significant role abroad.

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In recent years, as German-based Opel had begun to fade, GM began looking to Chevrolet as a potential alternative. In fact, some analysts suggested GM might eventually abandon Opel entirely.  (more…)

Volkswagen Rides U.S., China Sales to Operational Profit Increase

Poor European sales, other expenditures crush net income.

by on Oct.30, 2013

VW's Martin Winterkorn said the company's goals for the year remain unchanged despite difficulties in Europe.

Volkswagen AG rode U.S. and China sales to a 20% increase in operational profits in the third quarter despite a 3.8% drop in revenue. However, the company’s net profit dropped to $2.6 billion (1.9 billion euros) from $15.6 billion (11.3 billion euros).

Operational profits, which are profits before taxes and interest, rose to $3.8 billion (2.78 billion euros) from 2.32 billion euros.

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Group deliveries increased by 4.8% to 7.2 million vehicles worldwide. The Group’s share of the passenger car market rose year-on-year to 12.7% from 12.6%. (more…)

Ghosn Says Nissan Won’t Cede Battery Car Leadership

Renault/Nissan CEO reveals why his #2 left unexpectedly; suggests Europe’s car market finally on the mend.

by on Sep.10, 2013

Just because things are starting to improve, said Ghosn, "doesn't mean we shouldn't be cautious."

There were plenty of skeptics when Nissan announced plans to put a high-volume battery-electric vehicle into production, more than a few automakers contending there would be no market for the green technology and predicting the Japanese automaker might as well throw its money down a well.

Today, while sales of battery-based vehicles have fallen short of proponents’ expectations, it’s hard to find any maker not working on electric propulsion, and several – notably including Volkswagen AG – have laid out plans to become the leaders in the emerging segment. But don’t tell that to Carlos Ghosn, the CEO of Nissan and its French alliance partner Renault.  He said the Japanese makers has no intention of stepping aside for its competitors during a wide-ranging Q&A session with reporters at the Frankfurt Motor Show.

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During that discussion, Ghosn expressed his cautious optimism that after tumbling to its lowest level in two decades, the European auto market is finally on the mend. He also explained why his well-respected second-in-command, Carlos Tavares, suddenly and unexpectedly left the French side of the alliance late last month.

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Hot August Sales Drive Record New Car Pricing

Industry sales tracking to be best in six years.

by on Sep.04, 2013

Pickups contributed significantly to a red-hot August sales result.

U.S. new car sales appear to have reached a six-year high as buyers raced back to showrooms in hot August – but the news wasn’t all good from a consumer standpoint. While car sales are adding momentum to an economy still looking for traction, buyers may have wound up paying record prices for new vehicles last month, according to a preliminary analysis.

Sales of new cars, trucks and crossovers appear to have run at a 16 million annualized pace, according to industry analysts, with General Motors, Ford, Chrysler, Toyota and Nissan among the many brands to show double-digit gains. Hyundai, set another sales record despite the impact of capacity problems worsened by a labor dispute in South Korea. Volkswagen was one of the rare losers, sales slipping 1.8% for the month.

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“August capped a great summer for new vehicle sales,” says Bill Fay, Toyota division group vice president and general manager, who suggested that, “The auto industry continues to be a bright spot in the economic recovery.” (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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