Europe′s car industry faces worst year in decades | Business| Economy and finance news from a German perspective | DW | 11.06.2013
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Business

Europe's car industry faces worst year in decades

A study by a German automotive research center has revealed that western Europe's car industry is experiencing its worst year in three decades. Demand for new vehicles is at a record low in many nations.

Overall car sales in Europe would suffer another setback throughout 2013, a survey by the Center Automotive Research (CAR) at Duisburg-Essen University in Germany claimed on Tuesday.

The study said, following an already weak 2012, sales would dip by another 5 percent on the continent this year to total 11.89 million vehicles.

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German automaker results worry

It added that eurozone members France, Italy, Spain, Portugal and Greece would be hit hardest by the unfavorable business environment in the sector as there was no end in sight yet to the protracted debt crisis in the bloc of 17 countries using the euro.

No silver lining

The car market in those five countries was expected to plummet by another 9.6 percent, after already falling by a staggering 17 percent last year, the study said.

"Jobless people just aren't avid car buyers, and the upshot of it all is that the European auto industry is experiencing its worst year since the first oil crisis 30 years ago," CAR chief Ferdinand Dudenhöffer said in a statement.

Dudenhöffer added that, because of record-high unemployment rates in southern Europe, the chances for a swift recovery of the car market were next to zero. The study indicated that the countries worst-hit by the sales crisis would only be able to use 58 percent of their overall production capacities, the lowest level recorded since the end of World War II. A number of carmakers have already closed or are about to close some of their plants, including Peugeot-Citroen, Ford and Opel.

hg/rc (dpa, AFP)

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