Passenger-car registrations dropped 0.04 percent to 15.6 million vehicles in the European Union and European Free Trade Association, according to the European Automobile Manufacturers Association. This follows four months of straight declines after new EU emissions test rules came into force, leading to production bottlenecks.
Carmakers battled mounting hurdles in 2018, prompting many including Daimler AG and BMW AG to cut profit targets. They’re not expecting much of a reprieve in 2019. Concerns for a disorderly Brexit have gotten worse and economic growth is slowing in Germany, the region’s biggest market.Continental AG this week gave a dour outlook for the year for the first half of 2019.
BMW earlier said Europe might stay flat because of the slowing economic backdrop. With the decline in China, two of the world’s biggest car markets fell last year and the U.S. barely rose. The global downturn comes at a bad time for carmakers’ bottom lines as they use up record funds to keep up in the shift to electric and self-driving cars.
Worries about trade tensions with the U.S. on European-made cars continue to bubble in the background. While U.S. President Donald Trump has held off on imposing new car import tariffs, the Commerce Department is working on a revision of its report into the matter. - Bloomberg