A decline in fourth-quarter new-car sales as a result of the credit crunch capped a bleak year for the European car industry in 2008. It wiped out 75 percent of shareholder value for European auto retailers.
European carmakers saw sales fall to their lowest levels in more than a decade as recession-fearing car buyers grew more cautious. The Automotive News Europe/PricewaterhouseCoopers Transaction Services Shareholder Value Index for OEMs fell into negative territory as all seven companies came under pressure. Overall, European carmakers lost 23 percent of their value in the fourth quarter.
In 2008 as a whole, carmakers shed more than a third of their value. The European auto industry was not the only sector to suffer: stock markets across Europe slipped deeper into the red. The overall deterioration in sentiment hit auto retailers particularly hard: the ANE/PwC index of European dealers showed a 75 percent decline in shareholder value while the supplier sector saw a 40 percent reduction in value.
Consumers delaying new-car purchases is putting an unprecedented strain on the industry. There is an increasing need for some form of state support, with automakers best placed to secure this. However, this will need to be fed through to suppliers and retailers to limit plant and business closures,said Jason Wakelam, of PwCs UK Automotive Transaction Services.