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Automakers, suppliers extend strong gains in Q4

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After particularly strong gains in the third quarter, automakers, parts suppliers and retailers enjoyed further improvements, albeit more modest ones, in the final three months of 2013, as measured by the Automotive News Europe/PricewaterhouseCoopers Transaction Services Shareholder Value Indices.

Having started the year in negative territory, down 3 percent in the first quarter, automakers saw shareholder value rise 9 percent in the fourth quarter. This followed gains of 18 percent in the preceding quarter and 9 percent in the second quarter.

Suppliers gained a further 15 percent in the final quarter last year, the sixth consecutive quarter of improvement. Retailers achieved their eight consecutive quarterly gain, although the 2 percent recorded in the most recent quarter may be seen as disappointing after the 27 percent gain over the preceding three months.


VW takes top spot

In the fourth quarter of last year Volkswagen Group's value to shareholders rose 17 percent. VW Group, which sold a record 9.7 million vehicles worldwide in 2013, increased its shareholders value in every quarter of 2013. Two other stock-exchange-listed European manufacturers remained in strong positive territory in the final quarter – Daimler (+10 percent) and BMW (+7 percent) – but with lower growth rates than in the third quarter.

PSA/Peugeot-Citroen, meanwhile, suffered a 22 percent decline in its value to shareholders. This followed a 92 percent gain in the third quarter. In December the French carmaker unveiled a large-scale 1.1 billion euro ($1.52 billion) writedown of its ailing overseas operations. This resulted in a sharp decline in its share price. Although it has since recovered somewhat, it is still well short of its peak last September.

Commenting on the trends for automakers revealed by the latest ANE/PwC Shareholder Value Indices, PwC Automotive Transaction Services Partner Jason Wakelam said: "Last year was centered on questions over whether the European Union would turn itself around. Some markets, such as the UK, saw significant volume increases, but markets such as Germany and France continued to see slower declines overall. Although there is some way to go until volumes reach pre-crisis levels, there is growing optimism that Europe will see increases in volume across the board in 2014."


Kongsberg surges ahead

Amongst suppliers, Norwegian driver controls and cable specialist Kongsberg Auto gained 99 percent in shareholder value in the fourth quarter. The company, which plans to halve the number of subsuppliers with which it does business in the next five years, has picked up a number of new contracts in emerging markets and improved profits in the third quarter on reduced sales.

Others to show improvement included cast aluminum company Montupet (+59 percent), Italian filtration and suspension system maker Sogefi (+36 percent) and the French exhaust, seating and interiors maker Faurecia (+30 percent).

Commenting on the trends for suppliers PwC's Wakelam said: "Although car sales in Europe were down overall between 2012 and 2013, sales of new cars grew at the fastest pace in four years in December last year. This is clearly having a positive impact for European components suppliers."


Retailers mixed

Car retailers had mixed fortunes in the final quarter. Best performers were Sweden's largest dealer group, Bilia, up 17 percent on the back of a good third quarter performance, and UK retailer Vertu Motors, up 12 percent. The only other group with a significant change during the quarter was HR Owen, which relinquished 13 percent.

In October investment group Berjay, which is controlled by Malaysian billionaire Vincent TanBerjaya, announced it was concluding its takeover bid for the UK luxury car specialist, settling for a controlling 69.7 percent stake.

Commenting on the trends for retailers revealed by the latest ANE/PwC Indices, Wakelam said: "Across the major European car markets, demand from UK private buyers has been a key growth driver in 2013. This has been partly driven by a rise in pre-registrations, which may reflect increased consumer demand for discounted vehicles."

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