Behind The Volkswagen Scandal, A “Car Cold War” Simmers

The still-unfolding Volkswagen diesel emissions scandal has earned the largest German automaker more than a week of public opprobrium in the US media, as American owners, regulators and commentators rush to condemn the most blatant case of regulatory evasion in recent automotive history. In Europe, however, the outrage at VW’s emissions manipulation is tempered by a certain amount of realpolitik. French Economy Minister Emmanuel Macron has given voice to European suspicions by suggesting that American automakers are fueling the scandal for competitive purposes, and German officials have made it clear that they intend to “contain” the scandal. Grievances over auto industry issues have long been a source of friction between President Obama and German Chancellor Angela Merkel, and the Volkswagen scandal has brought tensions old and new spilling out into the open.


[Continue Reading]

EU new passenger vehicle registrations up strongly in March, except for GM

Autobahn - Picture courtesy

March is the most important car buying moths in many parts of Europe, and car sales finally are in full bloom in the EU. New car registrations were up 10.6 percent in March, when compared to the same month in the prior year by the European auto manufacturer association ACEA. Finally, the rise is broad-based, and no longer the simple statistical effect it was until recently. [Continue Reading]

Europe in June: Passenger vehicle market tiptoeing out of the hole

Picture courtesy

The EU passenger vehicle market continues its very slow crawl out of a very deep hole it dug last year. In June, registrations were up by 4.5 percent to 1,189,143 units, which, according Europe’s manufacturer organization ACEA “ is the second lowest level reached in a month of June since ACEA began the series in 2003 with the enlarged EU.” For the first six months of the year, passenger car registrations are up 6.5 percent over the first half of last year to 6,622,996 units. [Continue Reading]

EU in the second-worst year in recent car sales history

Picture courtesy

In May, as in the months before, the EU new car market continued its partial resurrection. The 4.5 percent increase printed last month, however, was more a function of the abysmally low base during the Euro crisis in the prior year, and not Europeans stampeding back to their car dealers. The EU manufacturers’ association ACEA can’t help to note that “in absolute figures, the total of 1,093,448 units registered marked the second lowest result to date for a month of May since ACEA began the series in 2003 with the enlarged EU.” The way it looks, 2014 will end up in the annals as the second-worst year in recent car sales history. [Continue Reading]

EU April new car registrations up 4.6 percent. The shift from premium to budget accelerates

smallest-car-florence-italy Pictuere courtesy

New car sales in the EU were up a paltry 4.6 percent in April, as statistics by Europe’s manufacturer association ACEA show. (Full table here.) When sales were up 10.6 percent in March, this was widely feted as the long-sought turn-around. A month later, there is less reason for celebration. According to the ACEA, April’s “total of 1,089,226 units registered marked the third lowest result to date for a month of April since ACEA began the series in 2003 with the enlarged EU.” From such a low level, one would think that a real rebound shows a little more vigor. [Continue Reading]

EU Sales up 8 percent in second worst February in written history

Dacia Sandero

You will hear this again a few times more: Car sales in Europe are up, “However, in absolute figures, the total of units registered marked the second lowest result to date for a month of February since ACEA began the series in 2003 with the enlarged EU,” says the EU automaker association ACEA. [Continue Reading]

EU court says VW law is legal

EU Court of Justice - Picture courtesy

Protracted  legal and political wrangling and hand wringing found came to an end today when the EU Court of Justice (ECJ) ruled that the “VW law” in its current form is legal. According to Reuters, “the Luxembourg-based EU Court of Justice (ECJ) said in a ruling on Tuesday that Germany had complied with a 2007 court ruling ordering it to water down a 1960 law that gave Lower Saxony a de facto golden share in Europe’s biggest carmaker.” [Continue Reading]

“The big registration lie” – large parts of EU car sales never happen

Or so they say.

Or so they say.

You probably aren’t highly interested in car sales in Poland. If you want to understand the arcana of EU car sales, you may want to make yourself understand why Poles buy so many cars – or not.  “Polish new car registrations rose 16.5 percent on the year in September,” Reuters writes. A good deal of these sales were fake, in Poland as well as all over Europe. [Continue Reading]