Europe Takes A Hit

With the globalization of the automotive industry — all volume car companies are keeping a keen an eye on sales figures around the world. And while the US auto sector is in robust recovery from the economic crisis of four years ago — Europe which later slid into recession and its own larger financial crisis — sees its auto marketplace continuing to deteriorate.

New-car registrations in Europe tanked 16 percent at the end of 2012 — with all major automakers except Hyundai and Kia taking serious hits. This represents the lowest new car sales level in Europe since 1995.

Though sales losses are industry-wide with major European brands like VW, Audi, Fiat, Renault and Peugeot-Citroen seeing declines of between 14 and 20 percent, GM and Ford led the decline with a 27 percent drop-off respectively!

It is an interesting turnabout from the depths of the US car slump when GM and Ford took some refuge in growing overseas sales. Today the roles are reversed with Audi, VW, BMW and Mercedes seeing gains in America — and Fiat seeing its only profit on the Chrysler Division — and brisk US sales of its new Fiat 500.