The good news for 2015 is that carmakers competing in Europe can look forward to another year of sales growth, but while it may statistically qualify as a gradual recovery, it certainly won’t feel like one.
With the average age of vehicles on European roads increasing, pent-up replacement demand should eventually prompt a more robust upswing after 2013 sales dropped to levels not seen in Europe for two decades.
Analysts, however, expect this year’s rate of increase to be 2 percent to 3 percent compared with last year’s 5 percent rise.
Industry watchers see sales slowing back down to a crawl before ever having really taken off last year as geopolitical risks in Russia and the Middle East derailed a fledgling recovery in the euro area.
Commodities that closely track the economic cycle are also pointing lower, with prices for crude oil recently hitting five-year lows. Big shifts in the market such as the rising cost of car ownership and a preference for car sharing among younger drivers could prevent volumes from reaching previous highs seen during the debt-fueled bubble of 2007.