Worlds Apart: Australian vs European car market

Europe. The continent many Australians consider the epitome of exuberance. With the delectable cuisine, the breath-taking views, and the ancient historical attractions how could anyone say otherwise? However, its no secret the struggles that the European economy has faced in recent times. With record car sales just been announced on this side of the globe I decided to look further into how their car market is faring.

While Australia has been enjoying impressive new car sales figures, Europe on the other hand is not doing as well. With new car sales falling by 16.6% in October compared to last year, last month is said to be the worst year-to-date industry sales since 2005 (thestreet.com). Experts predict the European market to continue to decline within the next couple of years, believing 2011 sales will drop into the vicinity of 14 to 15 million units. This is a massive slump for Europe who saw the likes of almost 16 million units being sold last year in 2009 (thestreet.com).

Europe’s dire automotive sales-slump is principally due to the on-going financial crisis and subsequent economic downturn. Not only are companies finding it difficult to finance daily operations due to the recent credit crunch, but the difficulty for individuals to obtain finance (or the high interest rates if aquired), all contributes to the disinclined attitudes of consumers.

Facing the brunt of the automotive sales crisis in Europe are large number of major manufacturers. Such organisations include the Fiat Group (Fiat, Lancia, Alfa Romeo, Ferrari, Maserati), Ford, Toyota Group (Toyota, Lexus) and PSA Group (Peugeot, Citroen) who are all facing declines of between 20 and 33 percent in sales (caradvice.com.au).

Meanwhile, on the other side of the world, our own car market appears to be going from strength to strength. Seemingly unaffected by the financial crisis, Australian car sales are showing no signs of slowing down. Last month saw sales on par with 2009 figures and September created a new monthly record just overtaking the preceding record set in 2005 by approximately .69% (fcai.com.au).

A major contributing factor to the triumph of the Australian car market is the growing consumer interest in the SUV sector. Statistics from the Federal Chamber of Automotive Industries show “The SUV segment was the strongest performer during September, recording an increase of 36.3 per cent; followed by passenger cars (up 3.1 per cent) and then light commercials (up 1.7 per cent)” (fcai.com.au).

While several of the big brands are reaping the success of the Australian car economy, unsurprisingly Toyota and Holden are leading the way, both taking the top two positions bringing in the highest sales figures in the share market over the past few months.

Overall, the year-to-date number of vehicles sold in 2010 is 780,720, proving an increase of 14.5 per cent compared to the same period in 2009 (fcai.com.au). A stark contrast to our European counterparts.
 

What are your thoughts on both markets?

Have you had any first hand experience on the European slump or the Australian growth?

Share your throughs and feedback below.

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