Europe has not seen nothing yet in carmarket slowdown-Fitch
Standby for more trouble ahead in west European car markets. Emmanuel Bulle of credit rating agency Fitch told the Reuters Auto Summit in Paris that sales in West Europe were down only 5 percent from their peak while historically the downturn went to minus 20 percent.
“The slowdown in France started only 6 months ago and we won’t see a real downturn until 2009,” he noted, while the German market seemed more resilient but that was based on a relatively negative performance in 2007. Spain is falling on property worries which have led customers to postpone buying a car.
Customers also await new tax rules on polluting cars and the development of second-hand values for cars with ‘old’ technology.
Bulle said that in West Europe some 80 percent of cars were sold on credit and some 20 to 30 percent via the financing operations of a carmaker. If the credit crisis would make refinancing for these ‘captive’ lenders difficult and they would need to stop contracting new loans, carmakers could lose a fifth of their sales.