Europe sales fall
New-car sales in western Europe fell almost 6 percent in September.
ACEA, the European automakers' association, gave four reasons for the decline:
Disruption of transportation caused by fuel price protests
Large stocks of quality used cars
Supply problems for several manufacturers
Consumers delaying purchases due to the Paris auto show.
Germany, western Europe's biggest market, continued to suffer. It dropped 11 percent against November 1999 figures. For January-September, Germany was 11.3 percent down, to 2.6 million units, compared with the year-ago period.
Of the five main western European new-car markets, only Italy improved last month. Among smaller countries, Greece and Sweden showed September sales increases of 40.8 percent and 2.1 percent respectively. But the remainder - including Austria, Belgium, the Netherlands and Switzerland - all declined.
September new-car sales
Country Sept. Sept. %
(thousands) 99 00 change
Germany 309 275 -11.0
France 157 150 -4.6
UK 387 353 -8.7
Italy 169 184.5 8.9
Spain 90 85.5 -4.8
W. Europe 1,345 1,268 -5.7
Floods close plants
Fiat and Pininfarina in Turin were forced to shut plants for two days last week after flooding hit northern Italy. Although the plants themselves were not directly damaged, suppliers were prevented from delivering parts. At least 22 people were confirmed killed by the floods in Switzerland and Italy, although many others are missing and feared dead.
Rover parts deal
MG Rover has signed a 10-year agreement with Cat Logistics to provide the British automaker with a global parts delivery service. Cat Logistics, a subsidiary of Caterpillar Inc., will operate a distribution hub for MG Rover out of its 126,000-square-meter warehouse in Desford, England. MG Rover's parts business constitutes about E431 million a year, according to Kevin Howe, chief executive of the company. That constitutues roughly 10 percent of the company's annual revenue. The Cat Logistics contract will take effect in March 2002, when MG Rover's current contract with Unipart expires.
In a chart listing the Top 5 global tire companies in the October 9 issue, Bridgestone and Michelin should have shared the No. 1 position with 1999 sales of $13.5 billion each.