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The figures from the European Automobile Manufacturers’ Association are unquestionably held back by a eurozone struggling with 12.2% unemployment levels, and with Croatia set to join carrying an even higher unemployment level, this is unlikely to improve any time soon.
The year-on-year June car sales in Europe have dropped by 6.3%, meaning they are at their lowest since 1996; the first-half sales figures have dropped by 6.7%, the lowest since 1993. As disappointing as these figures may be they are not altogether surprising; the EU is still struggling to fight its way into a recovery. Both Renault and Peugeot have said that they expect 2013 car sales to drop by 5%. If this transpires, it will be the sixth year in a row where European car sales have dropped.
If we drill down into some of the numbers we can see that General Motors sales have dropped by 9.9%; Opel/Vauxhall's (a subsidiary of GM) are down 7.2%; Volkswagen's are down 4.4%; BMW's are down 7.7%. It is not all bad news, however, as Ford has seen its sales increase by 6.9% and Mercedes, built by Daimler, has shares up 2%.
Increasing pressure on spending power as inflation levels hit 2.9% indicate that Michelin the tyre manufacturer may be the company to look at; they have seen their June sales jump by 3%, underlining the shift in consumer sentiment.