PARIS (AFP) -New car sales in Europe rose by nearly six per cent in 2014, ending a long slump in activity that began in 2007, but analysts warn the sector has not yet turned the corner in the region.
The European Automobile Manufacturer’s Association (ECEA) said last week that 2014 new car sales grew by 5.7 per cent, but noted current volumes of activity remain significantly lower than they were before the global financial crisis that drove the sector into six years of decline.
Europe’s continuing economic sluggishness means carmakers are unlikely to be able to repeat 2014’s performance, with analysts expecting sales growth to be limited to 1 to 3 per cent this year.
A recovery to pre-crisis levels is most likely still years away.
Carlos Da Silva, an auto industry expert at IHS consultants, said that “2014 should be taken with relief and satisfaction. However, by any means, this growth should not be misinterpreted: the foundations for a flourishing car market are yet to be built.
“Right now, the patient is still limping, not starting to run on both legs!”
The European car sector’s convalescent state is clear in comparing the 12.5 million units sold last year to the 16 million which rolled off dealer’s lots in 2007 before Wall Street unleashed a global financial crisis.