BARCELONA -- ACEA expects European new-car sales will fall by at least 25 percent in 2009 to about 11 million units. That decline is much higher than the European car manufacturers associations earlier forecast of 10 percent to 15 percent.
"We're not yet at the bottom," ACEA Secretary General Ivan Hodac said at the auto show here. "We may be starting to see the bottom, but we've not yet touched it."
ACEA believes the industry's sales crisis is deeper than expected and it has revised its projection to take into account dramatic downfalls in most European markets, Hodac said.
In Europe, first-quarter sales were down 17.2 percent to about 3.4 million cars. ACEA reports April and four-month registration results on Thursday.
Last year, European sales were down 7.8 percent to 14.7 million units compared with 2007. The year-to-year decline was Europes worst since 1993.
ACEA expects the market to stabilize by the end of 2009 or the beginning of 2010.
There won't be a quick recovery," Hodac said, noting that the European automotive industry was in the middle of "the most serious crisis since World War II.
ACEA expects European car sales to return to the level seen in 2007 -- about 16 million units -- between 2013 and 2015.