Report: European Ford Dealers Selling Cars to One Another to Boost Sales

Some European Ford dealers are selling vehicles to one another to increase sales, Bloomberg reports. This practice is yet another result of the economic woes that have hit the European auto industry, following news that Renault may close plants and Opel is shying away from incentives.

Called “self-registration,” the practice of selling cars to one another has become widespread among dealers in Europe, Ford Europe’s vice president of marketing, sales, and service Roelant de Waard told Bloomberg. These vehicles are then sold as heavily discounted used cars. The current climate calls for such drastic measures, de Waard suggests. Prospects for 2013 are expected to be about the same as this year, with the rate of recovery dependent on whether Europe’s governments decide to step in again with incentive programs similar to our own “Cash for Clunkers.” According to de Waard, the self-registration trend is likely to continue until either demand increases or capacity is adjusted.

Ford may get just such a capacity adjustment, as UBS Investment Research reports Ford is “most likely” to close its assembly plant in Genk, Belgium. In addition, UBS said the automaker’s factories in Valencia, Spain and Cologne, Germany “appear at risk.” As we previously reported, Renault may also soon close plants in Western Europe to shift production over to Nissan’s facilities in Sunderland, England and Barcelona, Spain.

Meanwhile, General Motors’ European arm Opel expects to hit 1 million sales this year, but admits times are tough, reports Reuters. Opel says it will be judicious with its use of incentives to avoid hurting resale values. The ailing brand recently cut hours for its workers, halting production for 20 days last month.

Source: Bloomberg, Reuters

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