UK and European Market Round-Up to May 2009 – Light Vans

UK <3.5T Van Registrations – YTD May 2009 By the end of May 2009, UK <3.5T New Van Registrations were down 65,418 units, around 46.4%.  There is no significant reduction in the pace of decline. Since May 2008, unit losses have been 224,045. In May 2009, the fall in the market was 50.2% compared to the same month the year before. Two of the main players  –  Ford and Vauxhall  – are in economic difficulties which may be having an impact. Van sales are considered an economic indicator. If so, there are no signs of recovery yet but I’ll keep you posted. EU <3.5T Van Registrations – YTD May 2009 In the light van segment, ACEA reported that April results were negative for all countries, ranging from -95.2% in Iceland to -23.1% in Switzerland, and an overall drop of 42.3% for Europe*. All major markets recorded a marked decline, Italy (-30.0%), Germany (-33.0%), France (-34.6%), the UK (-45.6%) and Spain (-58.2%). In the new EU Member States, Poland remained the largest market despite a 31.3% decrease. Slovakia (-54.9%), Romania (-61.2%) and the Czech Republic (-73.1%) saw their markets contract more severely. Four months into the year, Western Europe recorded a 36.5% decrease and the new EU Members a 42.5% drop, resulting in an overall 37.1% decline for the region. The French market contracted by 25.2%, remaining the biggest one with 121,497 new vans registered. The downturn was 27.6% in Germany, 32.4% in Italy, 45.8% in the UK and 52.8% in Spain, with the Swiss (-17.6%), the Belgian (-19.6%) and the Polish (-19.8%) markets faring slightly better in relative terms. * EU27+EFTA, data for Cyprus and Malta are unavailable

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Czech Republic’s love affair with used cars may be coming to an end

The Czech Republic, alongside its central and eastern European neighbours has developed a distinctive used car import market in recent years. Up until recently a combination of factors – strong currency, easy import rules and poorer grade locally-made used cars – encouraged plenty of buyers to choose an used car over a new one or a domestic used car. These factors have now weakened and new ones have combined with them to weaken used car imports: the government has introduced rules which raise the cost of running cars with poor emissions, petrol price rises have weakened demand for gas guzzlers, and incentives have encouraged the switch to new cars. The used car import market – particularly for older cars – may be irreparably undermined.

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The future for Koeniggsaab

Saab Automobile’s boss, Jan-Ake Jonsson, reckons he can manage its re-emergence as a restructured, independent Swedish automaker. He needs help from three sources. GM itself, who would have to write-off most of the £827MN Saab still owes to its parent. A new partner to finance some of their future and the Swedish government to pick up a large slice of the tab. Why would they?

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Why did Fiat marry Chrysler?

The deal Fiat really wanted had three elements: Chrysler, Opel and Fiat.. They only got two, so the profit formula needs revising. With Opel missing, Fiat won’t be able to sell mid-size cars in the states with US crash test compliant platforms. They’re no longer part of the deal. Fiat now have to re-engineer Chrysler platforms or buy someone else’s. More expense; more time. Meanwhile, the risk is that Ford and the Japanese pick up the spare market.

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UK and European Market Round-Up – 12 months to April 2009

     Up to the end of April 2009, UK Passenger New Car Registrations were down 517,775 units, around 21.5%. More importantly, there is no significant reduction in the pace of decline. Since July 2008, double-digit percentage losses have been recorded. Between September 2008 and April 2009, the fall in the market has been between 20% – 30% compared to the same month the year before. The impact of the UK Scrappage Scheme isn’t yet part of the picture—it launched 18th May. But, thus far, no ‘green shoots’. I’ll keep you posted. EU Passenger Car Registrations In the first four months of 2009 the German market has posted the only signs of turn-around, on the back of the generous Scrappage Scheme subsidies. Reports are that there are enough applications already filed to the agency managing the scheme to add another 750,000 units and enough money left to top that up with another half a million units. Of the rest, France is making the best headway—down around 5%. Once again, on the back of a generous fleet renewal incentive and car tax bonuses for switching to ‘green’ models. Spain is currently in worst shape, but that is probably owed in part to a completely failed fleet renewal incentive, overwhelmed by dismal economic conditions. Matters should improve when a new scheme comes into place after June.      

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