New Vehicle Sales in Europe Continue to Slide with Debt Crisis

A good number of our favorite cars hail from Europe, whether it’s the 2012 Ferrari 458 Italia, the 2011 Porsche 911 GT3 RS, or the 2012 Lamborghini Aventador. Unfortunately, the wealth of horsepower these supercars provide are not equal to the ailing financial health of the European Union, which continues to affect sales of non-essential items. Not surprisingly, among the many items moving to the bottom of Europeans “to buy” list is new cars. According to The New York Times, 2011 was the fourth consecutive year where new car sales fell in Europe. The European Automobile Manufacturers’ Association recently reported that new-car registration fell almost 2 percent last year. Among the hardest hit was Greece, where 100,000 new cars were registered in 2011, a sharp decrease from the 280,000 cars registered in 2007. The decline coincides with the sovereign debt crisis, which began in Greece in 2009 and has spread to other countries. Spain also reported a sharp decline in sales. In 2007, Spain reported 36 new-car registrations per 1000 residents, a figure that has been reduced by half in 2011. In all, the European Union purchased 15.8 percent fewer new cars last year, compared to 2007, the year before the credit crisis began. There were, however, a few bright spots in the EU including Belgium and Austria, both of which in 2011 experienced gains of 9 and 19.4 percent respectively compared to figures reported back in 2007. Altogether, seven European countries reported positive sales compared to 2007, though eight nations reported decreases of 50 percent or more since the start of the credit crisis. Source: The New York Times

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