New vehicle registrations in Europe continued to plummet in September. The financial crisis is hitting car makers hard. Sales in Western Europe fell 9.3 percent. In Spain they were down by nearly a third compared with last year and in the UK they dropped over 21 percent. September is normally a month when sales pick up after a summer lull. Not so this year.
Following August’s 15.7 percent fall, sales last month were down 8.2 percent for the European Union, excluding Malta and Cyprus, plus the European Free Trade Association countries.
The credit crunch is making it more difficult for purchasers to get loans and preventing car makers from financing their daily operations:
Ferdinand Dudenhoefer, the Director of the Centre for Automotive Research in Germany said: “We are going into a big recession as far as the car markets are concerned. In Europe, the recession is advancing bit by bit, in the US the car markets have been destroyed. The next three years will be very, very hard for car makers and suppliers.”
The European Automobile Manufacturers’ Association, which released the registration figures, said its members were also having trouble raising the money to invest in new technologies for greener vehicles.
However, there was some good news for motorists in the fact that oil prices continue to fall. Crude is now at its lowest in thirteen months on expectations that economic weakness will further reduce demand. OPEC has just cut its forecasts for world demand for crude next year.