As the new year nears, 2012 looks bleak for Europe. Since September, forecasters have been adjusting their new-car sales predictions downward because of feared backlash from the sovereign debt crisis. The bottom line is that the experts see things dipping a percentage point more each month than than did just a couple months ago.
LMC Automotive just updated downward its 2012 western Europe passenger-car sales forecast to 12.15 million units, a decline of 5.1 percent from the expected final result from 2011.
Including light commercial vehicle sales, financial analysts at Morgan Stanley now see a 6.5 percent decline in European volume to 13.3 million units.
If the grim predictions are correct, 2012 European passenger cars could be 2.65 million units below their 14.8 million peak in 2007. That's the equivalent of nine 300,000-capacity plants.
Who will suffer most next year in Europe? The list is pretty long.