More news from around the globe concerning the massive downturn in new car sales, this time we report from France, Spain and Italy where January was a particularly bad month.
In France, new car sales were down 7.9 percent to 149,385 last month after a 15.8 percent drop in December, the French motor industry body CCFA said. Based on the same number of working days, sales were down 3.5 percent.
A CCFA spokesman said a 1,000-euro scrappage incentive launched by the French government in December offered a slight sales boost during January. The incentive is offered to buyers who swap older vehicles for new cars.
CCFA expects the real impact of the incentives to be seen in new-car sales starting in the second quarter.
French carmakers were hit harder by the downturn than their foreign competitors.
The combined market share of Renault and PSA/Peugeot-Citroen in January dropped to 50 percent, versus 54.1 percent in the first month of 2008.
Renault’s sales were down 20.4 percent to 27,324; Peugeot sales fell 11.1 percent to 25,885; the Citroen brand dropped 11.3 percent to 21,512.
Spanish new car sales dropped 41.6 percent to just 59,835 units compared to the same month last year despite the introduction of government-backed loans to new car buyers looking to replace old models and Italy saw a nearly 33 percent drop to 157,000 units despite old car scrapping and new car financing incentives offered by their government.
Spanish industry association ANFAC said in a statement;
“The lack of access to credit and rising unemployment have kept consumer confidence at minimum levels,” (sound familiar?)
Italy is likely to unveil a 1,000 or 1,500 Euro program to incentivize drivers of old cars to replace them with more efficient and cleaner new cars. Industry experts are predicting that the market could regain as many as 300,000 sales in 2009 as a result.
The anticipation is that Italian new car sales are likely to level off at around 1.85 million in 2009 compared to 2.16 million in 2008.