Car slump in France, Spain and Italy spells gloomy 2013
PARIS (Reuters) -- Car sales in France, Spain and Italy in 2012 fell to the lowest levels in years, with December registration data underscoring the challenges facing the broader European economy.
Automakers are facing a sustained slump in the European car market as the euro zone debt crisis and government austerity measures sap consumer demand.
"The new car market continues to decline -- a trait which we anticipate will continue through the course of 2013," Credit Suisse analyst David Arnold said on Wednesday, adding European auto sales were unlikely to see growth in 2013.
Italy's car sales, down 22.5 percent in December, slumped 19.9 percent for the full year to 1.4 million units, their lowest levels since 1979.
"The car market is suffering from an overdose of taxes aimed at hitting, if not criminalizing, the acquisition, ownership and use of autos," said Filippo Pavan Bernacchi, the president of Italy's car dealers' trade group Federauto.
He said he expected Italian car sales in 2013 to be close to 1.33 million units.
French car registrations fell 15 percent in December, leaving the full year down 14 percent to 1.90 million vehicles -- the lowest since 1997, French industry group CCFA said.
Spain's monthly sales shrank 23 percent, after a 20 percent fall in November. Its full-year total of 699,589 cars, down 13 percent, was the lowest since industry association Anfac began keeping records in 1989.
In a note on Italian data, auto think-tank Promotor said Italy's full-year fall in car sales was particularly worrying at a time when the global auto market was growing.
"The auto crisis does in fact involve only the euro area and is a direct consequence of the depressive effect of austerity policies on the real economy," it said.
The chance of a recovery in the euro zone economy has faded further into 2013 after the recession deepened in the final months of last year, a Reuters poll found last month.Contact Automotive News