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Ford, GM and Fiat hit hard as European auto sales fall 10% in Feb.
Automotive News
March 19, 2013
by Paul McVeigh

Ford Motor Co., General Motors and Fiat were the automakers worst hit as European passenger car registrations fell 10 percent to 829,359 in February.

The region's deepening recession continued to deter customers from buying cars despite steep discounting.

"This is as lousy as expected," said Gaetan Toulemonde, an analyst at Deutsche Bank AG in Paris. "We won't see any sign of recovery before the second half."

Ford's sales in the EU and EFTA countries were down 21 percent last month, according to figures released by industry association ACEA today.

The company is forecasting a loss of $2 billion in Europe for 2013.

Ford said its sales have been hit by production stoppages at its factory in Genk, Belgium, which is due to close next year.

"Our sales in the first two months of the year were significantly affected by the lack of consistent supply of the Mondeo, S-Max and Galaxy," Ford of Europe's marketing and sales head, Roelant de Waard, said in a statement. All three vehicles are built in Genk, where production restarted on Monday after workers agreed to severance terms.

"We have strong demand for these vehicles and will now move quickly to fill orders and meet the demand," de Waard said.

GM's European sales were down 20 percent with Opel/Vauxhall's volume declining by 15 percent and Chevrolet down 38 percent. Fiat Group posted a 16 percent drop in European sales.

European market leader Volkswagen's sales of its core VW brand fell nearly 10 percent, and sales of its luxury brand Audi fell 3.8 percent.

PSA/Peugeot-Citroen's volume was down 13 percent with Citroen sales falling 18 percent and Peugeot's brand down 8.5 percent. At Renault, group sales fell 8.6 percent with a 15 percent rise at Dacia offsetting a 15 percent drop at the core Renault brand.

Toyota Motor Corp., the world's largest auto manufacturer, sold 7.8 percent fewer cars across Europe last month.

Korean brands Hyundai and Kia, usually a bright spot, gained 1.4 percent and dropped 1.1 percent, respectively.

"Economic and political uncertainties, combined with different carbon dioxide-based vehicle taxation policies across Europe result in a very mixed picture for the car market," Allan Rushforth, senior vice president and chief operating officer of Hyundai's European business, said in a statement.

Full article available at link.
 
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