European car sales down 10%
European car sales fell 10 per cent in November as unemployment in Germany, the region's largest auto market, deterred drivers from buying vehicles from PSA Peugeot Citroen and Renault.
Registrations dropped to 965,918 vehicles last month from 1.07 million a year earlier, the Brussels-based European Automobile Manufacturers' Association, or ACEA, said today.
Eleven-month sales fell 7.2 per cent to 11.7 million cars. The ACEA, which posts numbers from the 27 European Union countries plus Switzerland, Norway and Iceland, has forecast that the region's market will drop as much as 10 per cent in 2012, the worst slump in 19 years.
The 11.3 million vehicles sold in the EU alone in the first 11 months of this year was the lowest figure since 1993, the association said today.
Peugeot's sales in Europe fell 16 per cent in November, while Renault's declined 27 per cent.
Germany's economy may shrink in the current quarter, according to the Munich-based IFO research institute, and its unemployment climbed for an eight consecutive month in November.
Four of Europe's five biggest automotive markets shrank last month, with deliveries in Germany falling 3.5 per cent.
That reversed a gain in October of 0.5 per cent in the country, which accounts for 25 per cent of the region's total auto sales.
Registrations dropped 19 per cent in France, and 20 per cent in Italy and Spain. Growth in November of 11 per cent helped the UK overtake France to become the second-biggest European car market in the first 11 months of 2012.
The ACEA is predicting a regional market drop in 2012 to about 12 million cars, the lowest level since 1995 and the sharpest decline since 1993.
European sales at Paris-based Peugeot dropped to 105,284 vehicles in November. Deliveries in Germany by the Peugeot brand last month fell 18 per cent, while the Citroen marque sold 28 per cent fewer cars, according to the country's Federal Motor Vehicle Office.
Peugeot and Fiat each announced within the past week that they're eliminating 1,500 jobs in response to the market decline.
Fiat is scaling back production in Poland, where it will cut manufacturing and sales positions.
European sales by Fiat fell 13 per cent to 59,152 cars in November.
Peugeot said its job reductions will take place by 2014 by not replacing people who leave.
The French company's cutbacks come on top of the elimination of 8,000 positions announced in July amid moves to shrink its workforce by 17 per cent over the next two years and close a car plant in its home country.
Sales in the region by Renault, based in the Paris suburb of Boulogne-Billancourt, dropped to 82,885 vehicles. General Motors Co's group sales in Europe last month fell 13 per cent to 75,876 vehicles, led by a 20 per cent drop for the Chevrolet brand.
The company's Opel division said December 10 that it will stop making cars at its plant in Bochum, Germany, in 2016, where its assembly line employs about 3,100 workers. The shutdown would be the first of a German auto plant since the second World War.