Since no one really knows, I thought I’d put out my forecast for EU 2012 light vehicle sales. As we comp against French incentives and other markets facing ongoing austerity, I foresee the potential for a EU down 5%. Not a fait accomplis, but at this moment, I prefer prudence.
The trick is in the mix. With macro uncertainty, I leave Germany and neighbors flat, and contrary to many who feel the Latin markets have bottomed, I see continued decline in France, Spain and Italy. UK exit rates for 2011 were concerning, and the best description I heard from OEM’s is “a mess, but it could be worse,” so:
What’s this mean: It’s about exports, where the Germans and Renualt have the edge. Impact from falling euro should be supportive. Also, see my recent note on downsizing which continues in Europe as well. New technology on gas engines and diesel pulling back. VAG still needs a way to sell more small cars.