Disappointing July new car sales lead JD Power Automotive Forecasting to drop 2011 forecast
In its latest West European Car Sales report, the firm highlighted the latest running rate of 11.7 million units/year – the lowest since July 2010. A three-month average selling rate for the region of 12.6 million units/year was also said to be disappointing.
The German market was 10% up year-on-year, though a selling rate of just under 3.0 million units/year is somewhat lower than the average for the first six months of the year, at 3.21 million units/year. The market remains on course this year for a solid improvement over 2010.
The Italian selling rate fell to a worryingly low level last month, at 1.45 million units/year, which is the lowest rate since the mid-1990s. The three-month average for May to July stood at just 1.71 million units/year. JD Power Automotive Forecasting says that difficulties regarding the wider economy and weak consumer confidence are clearly having a major impact on the market.
The French market continues to operate at a lower level than earlier in the year, though the verdict is that this is to be expected given the boost relating to government scrappage support continued into the first quarter of 2011. A running rate of 2.1 million units/year may not be considered that bad in this context, certainly when looking at how some of the other large markets in the region are struggling.
Spain remains a very troubled market, highlighted by the fact that last month the selling rate dipped below 800,000 units/year for the first time in 2011. With unemployment over 20% and ongoing questions over the country’s financing, JD Power Automotive Forecasting added that the economic support that the Spanish car market desperately needs is not going to come any time soon.
The UK market was year-on-year lower for the 13th consecutive month, with an improvement in fleet sales only partly offsetting the drop in private sales.