European car markets trudge onward, emerging markets lose steam

May 16 2014, 6:26pm CDT | by

European new car sales rose in April for the eighth consecutive month, but the advance was so modest and last year’s trough was so deep that the sales total of 1,089,226 cars,  SUVs and vans was the third-lowest for a month of April since 2003 when figures were first compiled for the enlarged European Union.

France, Britain, Spain and Italy — the major European markets except for Germany — had higher car sales last month. Auto sales in Germany retreated 3.6%. Altogether, car sales rose 4.6% last month in the 28 European states minus Malta, according to the European carmakers’ association, Brussels-based ACEA. They were up 7.4 % for the first four months of the year.

While the established markets, western Europe and the US, are climbing out of downturns at various rates, this year’s laggards are the emerging markets, with the exception of China, according to a report from Barclays Equity Research.

“Aside from the growth in Europe,  the US  (where auto sales rose 8%) appears to still be making up the ground lost during the Polar Vortex, and China (with sales up 11.6%) continues to impress with rapid growth. That’s the good news; the bad news is the hole is getting deeper in the other major emerging markets,” it said. Sales were down 24.9% in Turkey, they were down 14.3% in Brazil, they were 12.1% lower in India, and 7.7% lower in Russia, where tensions over the Ukraine have weakened the rouble and reduced the buying power of Russians. “Can the growth in the major markets offset the slide in emerging markets?” Barclays said. “At this stage we think they will, but it is a close run affair.”

 
 

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