In Europe, the crisis continues (or is a new one unfolding?); after Greece, Spain drags into a debt hole, Italy and Cyprus are next in line … Europeans have few reasons for optimism. And the markets are very sensitive to these trends. Only two of the five largest automobile countries in the region showed slight growth, but sales rates there are not comparable with the previous ones. According to the German Association of Automobile Manufacturers (VDA), 1.63 million new cars were sold in Germany in the first six months of 2012 - only 1% more than in the first half of last year. The British market fell all year 2011, but now it has suddenly shown an increase of 2.7% (for half a year - 1.06 million cars). The positive news ends here.
The French market shrank 13.4% to 1.26 million vehicles. Spanish sales fell 8.2% to 406 thousand. Moreover, the decline continues - in June it amounted to 14%. But the most difficult situation is in Italy, where from January to June they sold only 128 thousand cars, which is a quarter (24.4%) lower than last year's result. This is the lowest rate in 30 years! Meanwhile, analysts believe that to the present bottom is still far.
As a result, in the European Union, according to preliminary data from the European Association of Automobile Manufacturers, in the first half of 2012, sales of cars and light commercial vehicles fell by 8%. Many experts warn that the current situation resembles the crisis of 2008. Still, the product is expensive, and consumers, in anticipation of trouble, prefer to postpone the purchase for later. Four years ago in Russia, sales, we recall, grew by leaps and bounds - so that later they would collapse into the abyss much faster than in other European countries.
In the meantime, according to the report of the Association of European Businesses, the Russian car market grew by 14% in the first half of the year; 1.4 million cars and light commercial vehicles sold. This is slightly less than the results of the record first half of 2008, but the results of June 2012 (272.2 thousand cars) surpassed the same June 2008. Milestone taken!
Could be even better, but the process is hindered by objective reasons. It is not the first month that AvtoVAZ has shown negative dynamics. Over the past six months, 250.1 thousand cars were sold: minus 14% compared to the same period last year; in June, the fall was at all 18%. To some extent, the collapse in demand is associated with the end of the recycling and concessional lending programs, but they were closed more than a year ago! The main reason, as I understand it, is different - in the trading network there are not enough new models that are in high demand. This is primarily about the "Grant". With the release of production at planned capacity, as well as with the beginning of Largus' wide sales, the situation will improve.
At AvtoVAZ they assure that they were ready for a drop in sales in the first half of 2012. At the end of the year, the plant expects to sell (taking into account exports) up to 590 thousand cars, and if we take into account car kits, then all 700 thousand. I would like to believe …
Among foreign firms, according to the results of the first half of the year, Renault came in first place (growth of 29%). Following are the Chevrolet (+ 17%), Kia (+ 25%) and Hyundai (+ 21%). But here's the curious thing: the overall growth in sales for these companies was accompanied by a drop in sales of traditional leader models. By the end of June, the entire first five bestsellers were in the red! Along with the two most popular “frets” - “Kalina” and “Prior” - Ford-Focus sales (-3%) and Hyundai-Solaris (-12%) slipped. But most of all, Renault Logan lost (- 32%). What is going on?
The answer, it seems to me, needs to be sought in the general socio-economic situation. A number of studies conducted by both Russian and foreign companies in recent months have shown that, in anticipation of a new crisis (almost half of Russians are confident that serious shocks will be waiting for us again soon), citizens prefer not to carry the accumulated funds to the bank, as they used to do Germans or French, do not put off cash dollars (this is what the Greeks or Spaniards do), but simply spend them on serious purchases. Along with the demand for cars, sales of expensive televisions, smartphones, refrigerators are growing … After all, money is an absolute uncertainty. How to store, in what - in rubles, dollars, euros? After all, any currency can collapse! Put money in a bank? The interest is not too high (barely covering inflation), and our confidence in banks is very low. Buy stocks - but which ones? A few years ago, the state already arranged “people's IPOs”: they sold shares of Sberbank, Rosneft, etc. Those who believed in sweet promises were able, at best, to return the invested funds (naturally, excluding inflation). Buy a property? Few can afford it. Gold, diamonds? Same. And where to put them later? In a word, everywhere you throw, a wedge is everywhere. So it turns out that in Russia the population has no reliable ways of saving. In such a situation, people buy a car and household appliances. But here, the possibilities of most Russians are not unlimited. Consumer fever cannot last long. And the fastest run out of stock are those who can only afford a budget car. Hence the drop in demand for popular and inexpensive foreign cars.
What will happen next is difficult to predict. “The fall in some brands is due to the fact that the market has reached the level of saturation, its ceiling. There are no conditions for further growth, perhaps even a slight drop. If the crisis does not progress, sales will be stable; otherwise, we can expect a sharp drop,”said Sergey Tselikov, director general of the Avtostat analytical agency. Most analysts very cautiously predict that about 2.8 million cars and light commercial vehicles will be sold in a year. And then they add: if nothing happens. I'd love to hope for the best.