Monday, January 4, 2010

Spanish car sales worst for 15 years

I read with interest a recent article in the Spanish press about new car sales for 2009 being 18% below 2008 levels, dipping below 1m for the first time since 1995:

I was interested for two reasons. Firstly this came despite a government scheme called Plan 2000E which is the Spanish equivalent of the UK's scrappage scheme offering up to 2,000€ subsidies to private new car buyers if certain conditions are met. All the details are on the Advoco website:

It was introduced in May of this year to save the car industry and 260,000 transactions have taken place under the scheme. Without it one wonders what kind of year the car industry would have had. The plan has been extended as it has in the UK. The trouble with these kind of schemes (apart from the fact that they often favour imported smaller cars) is that the effect is to bring forward demand giving a short term boost but potentially leaving a hole in demand when the scheme ends. There is also concern that the scheme will come to the end just at the point when VAT is due to rise on cars (and everything else) halfway through 2010 by 2% thus hitting a fragile sector with a double whammy.

The second reason for interest was that I know someone shopping for a new car at the moment. They have been doing the rounds of car showrooms looking for a good deal on a fairly high end vehicle. They told me they were surprised how little attention they got. Having heard about the recession hitting new car sales they fully expected keen salesmen to be flocking round them offering hot deals but apparently they were mostly met by the usual apathy - a struggle to get anyone to talk to them never mind a test drive. I may be reading too much into the story but perhaps Spain needs to move on from talking about the crisis and actually showing some urgency in working its way out of it. With Spanish property prices still in the mire and the rest of the economy in the doldrums we need Spanish business to show a bit more drive and willingness to become more customer friendly.

No comments:

Post a Comment

OctoFinder Blog and ping Spanish Insight - Blogged