New car sales in the 27 EU countries slumped to a 20-year low in May, according to figures from the ACEA, the European automobile manufacturers’ association.
Just 1,042,742 new cars were sold in May, the lowest since May 1993, when just under a million units were sold.
The ACEA revealed that sales across the EU 27 fell by an average of 6.8 per cent year on year in the first five months of 2013. Italy’s new car market fell by 11.3 per cent and France’s by 11.9 per cent. The UK was one of the few positive markets, up 9.3 per cent over the same period.
Although some of the car makers facing significant sales falls are in the middle of model changeovers, the mainstream makers’ sales are continuing to fall dramatically, with the French manufacturers and Ford all suffering double-digit falls. Honda, which has seen sales in Europe drop dramatically, saw a healthy 11 per cent gain thanks to a new Civic and CR-V.
Even premium brands are suffering, with BMW falling by 1.6 per cent on the same period last year and Audi by 2.5 per cent. Volvo’s 10 per cent drop is worrying for the Swedish firm, given that both the S/V60 and V40 are still relatively young.
Jaguar’s global sales leapt by 63 per cent in May, driven by the F-type and niche cars such as the XF Sportbrake, but Land Rover sales fell by six per cent in the same month.
Of all the European mass-market brands, Citroën continues to be hit hardest. Sales slid by 17 per cent in the first five months of the year.