Automakers and analysts disagree on when European passenger car sales will finally rebound from a six-year slump. Ford Motor Co. and Daimler see signs that the bottom will be reached this year.
"We're not predicting any upturn yet, but there are certainly some good indications," Ford of Europe CEO Stephen Odell said last month. "Our prediction would be that we're at or close to the trough."
Daimler said falling demand "seems to have bottomed out in western Europe." The second half likely will bring gradual improvement, the company said during its second-half results presentation last month.
Renault-Nissan CEO Carlos Ghosn is not as optimistic. The European car market will be stable at best in 2014 and 2015, he said, adding: "More realistically, we may see another decrease -- maybe not as violent or as deep as the ones we have seen for the last years."
Rising unemployment will continue to sap consumer demand, Ghosn said. "I am preparing Renault for several years of market stability – at best," he said.