European car market ends losing streak
Frankfurt, May 18, 2013
Europe's ailing car market ended a streak of 18 straight months of falling sales, though a number of one-off factors suggested that a sustained recovery will be harder to achieve.
A pick-up in Germany and Spain in addition to continued robust demand in Britain delivered a 1.8 per cent increase in new car registrations last month, to 1.08 million vehicles.
However, the figures published by automotive industry association ACEA yesterday were flattered by two extra sales days in many European markets after Easter holidays fell in March rather than April, with last year's weak April also helping the year-on-year comparison.
Demand for new cars in recession-hit Europe fell to a 17-year low last year as euro zone unemployment reached record highs, credit dried up and households focused on repaying debt.
Despite last month's upturn, the ACEA pointed out that it was still the third-lowest level of new registrations for the month of April.
"It's a bit like the 'dead cat bounce' because car sales have been so low for so long they may have reached their low point, but I'm wary about calling this a turning point because consumers in most of the euro zone remain under pressure," said Howard Archer, chief European economist at consultancy IHS.
"Germany is the best market to see future upticks because the fundamentals for consumers there are better than elsewhere," he added.-Reuters