Car sales down 8.7% in Western Europe in May
According to J.D. Power Automotive Forecasting, the latest fall in West European car sales has increased the rate of year-on-year decline from the 4.5% decline in April. On the positive side, however, the seasonally adjusted annualised rate of sales fell only slightly, to a little under 13.4 million units/year.
However the firm warns that this relative stability cannot be expected to last, as the currently weak markets of Germany and Italy are joined in post-incentive weakness by the UK (probably as soon as June) and Spain.
Yet, the stronger recent performance in core markets, and a remarkable rebound in Scandinavian markets, have led to a further upgrade to its 2010 forecast.
Result for Germany: sales down by 35.1% — the year-to-date market was down by 27.7%. While the year-on-year comparison is strongly negative, it should be noted that May last year was a very strong month as a result of the 2009 scrappage incentive.
The French result was a little better than expectations, but the seasonally adjusted rate of sales showed some cooling from the strength in the first quarter. More easing is to be expected this year, albeit with some volatility as the scrappage incentive is reduced in a stepwise fashion.
The UK market held up well in May as the tail end of scrappage sales continued to pass through to registrations but a slowdown is imminent. Sales in Italy continued to struggle without incentive support.
The Spanish market held up relatively well but the scrappage scheme boost is not expected to last into the second half of 2010 and a market decline will then be in prospect.