Ford hurt most by French car sales decline
Ford Motor Co. was hurt most by a steep fall in French car registrations in February as a weak economy continued to weigh on demand for new vehicles.
Total car registrations in France dropped 12 percent to 143,366 last month compared with February 2012, the CCFA industry association said in a statement today.
Ford's volume declined by 33 percent to 9,309 units, the biggest decrease among major brands. PSA/Peugeot-Citroen sales dropped 16 percent to 41,033, while Renault recorded a more modest 11 percent decline to 35,156 with Renault brand down 20 percent and Dacia up 37 percent
Volkswagen Group, which has so far resisted the worst of Europe's protracted market slump, recorded an 8 percent drop in February sales to 20,089 units. Its French market share rose to 14.1 percent for the first two months of the year from 13.8 percent a year earlier. The VW, Audi, Skoda and Audi brands all had sales declines.
Hyundai-Kia bucked the falling market with a 5 percent gain to 5,373 units, buoyed by a 24 percent sales surge for the Hyundai brand, which offset a 10 percent drop in Kia sales.
The February sales drop also reflected a smaller number of sales days than in the year-earlier month. Corrected for these calendar effects, registrations fell a more modest 8 percent.
The CCFA also trimmed its full-year market forecast, saying
2013 registrations would fall by 5 percent at best, compared
with a "stable" outlook given at the start of the year.- See more at: http://edit.autonews.com/article/20130301/REUTERS/303019955&NoCache=1#axzz2MBPDRnA2
The decline gives an annualized selling rate of 1.82 million, an improvement from the 1.65 million reported in January, Morgan Stanley wrote in a note to investors. Sales results in the coming months will show whether a bottoming of EU sales could be close, it said.
The CCFA trimmed its full-year market forecast, saying 2013 registrations would fall by 5 percent at best, compared with a "stable" outlook given at the start of the year.
Ford last month said production limitations are contributing the company's declining sales in its European markets.
The automaker has lost production as its factories switch over to build an updated Fiesta subcompact and a new Kuga compact SUV. Production of larger models, the Mondeo, Galaxy and S-Max, has also been disrupted at the Genk, Belgium, plant. The factory is due to close permanently next year to reduce overcapacity.
Reuters contributed to this report
You can reach Paul McVeigh at email@example.com.