Ford hit hardest as European car sales fall 8.5% in August
VW Group bucks downward trend, boosted by Audi
FRANKFURT -- Ford Motor Co. suffered the biggest decline among volume carmakers as European new-car registrations fell 8.5 percent last month compared with August last year, figures released today by industry association ACEA showed.
Volkswagen Group was the only mass-market automaker to buck the downward trend with sales up 1.6 percent for the month for the group, whose brands include Audi, Skoda and Seat.
Registrations at the core VW brand fell 3 percent while Audi sales grew by 8 percent. Skoda sales rose by nearly 4 percent.
Ford sales fell nearly 29 percent percent while rival Opel/Vauxhall's volume was down nearly 19 percent. Registrations at Fiat dropped nearly 18 percent. French automakers Renault and PSA/Peugeot-Citroen saw their sales fall 13 percent and 12 percent respectively.
The numbers are for the 27-member EU states plus Switzerland, Norway and Iceland
Download PDF below for full sales by automaker and country for August and the 8 months
Ford said it expects its European sales to rebound this month, thanks to the introduction of new products such as the B-Max minivan and a new Focus variant with a fuel-efficient 1.0-liter EcoBoost engine.
Traditionally strong September sales in the UK, where Ford is market leader, will also help the company, Ford said in a statement today.
The automaker is considering factory cuts to halt mounting losses in the region that it expects to top $1 billion this year.
"We are looking at all elements of the business, including cost," Ford of Europe chief Stephen Odell said earlier this month.
UK, Spain sales rise
In Europe's top five markets, only the UK and Spain reported a rise in August sales, with UK sales growing by a modest 0.1 percent and growth in Spain jumping 3.4 percent as consumers rushed to avoid a rise in VAT in September.
Registrations in Germany, Europe's biggest car market, fell 4.7 percent in August as business confidence fell for a fourth straight month.
Sales in Italy and France fell 20 percent and 11 percent respectively.
"It's a deteriorating picture, with also the German market now heading in the wrong direction," said Jonathon Poskitt, head of European sales forecasting at LMC Automotive. "Consumer confidence is being hit with all that's going on in Europe. There's no quick turnaround in sight."
Arndt Ellinghorst, from Credit Suisse Group, said: "We'll probably see a continued weakness in southern Europe and an accelerated weakness in France and Germany. That would be a big problem next year as Germany and France are more profitable than Italy and Spain."
Reuters and Bloomberg contributed to this report
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