Vehicle production picks up compared to low 2009 levels

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Brussels – Car production and demand in the EU rebounded in the
first  months of 2010 compared to the very low levels of 2009. The trend,
however,  slowed  as  the  year  progressed  and  the impact of temporary
factors faded. Contrary to passenger cars, production of heavy trucks was
still down in the first quarter of 2010.

These  and other figures can be found in the latest ACEA Economic Report,
published  today.  The  automobile industry’s trade association publishes
the  Economic  Report  three  times  a year, giving additional insight in
market  trends and automotive production.

Vehicle production
New  passenger  car  production in the EU recorded a rebound of 34% three
months  into  the  year,  compared to the first quarter of 2009. However,
production was still 13% down when compared to the first quarter of 2008.
The  same  picture emerged in the segment of vans. Despite a 51% increase
three  months  into  the year 2010, production of vans remained 35% below
the  pre-crisis  level  of  2008.  Truck production decreased by 5% until
April  this  year,  and by 63% compared to the first quarter of 2008. The
segment  of  buses declined by 22% three months into the year compared to
the same period in 2009.
In  units  produced,  Germany  remained  the  largest  auto manufacturing
country  in  the  EU  (1.4 million units, +33%), while the UK saw its car
production  pick  up  most  (+72.7%) compared to the first quarter of the
previous  year.  Except  for  Finland  (-59.5%),  Belgium  (-10.5%),  the
Netherlands (-7.5%) and Italy (-0.1%), all countries posted growth.

Demand
In  2010, demand for new passenger cars in the EU continued to grow until
a  7.4%  decline  was  noted  in April. In May, new registrations further
decreased  by  9.3%.  The recent drops reflect both the end to government
support  schemes as well as the continuing challenging economic situation
in the EU.

From January to May, small cars (segments A and B) accounted for 44.6% of
the  total  market  for  new cars compared to 45.3% in the same period of
2009.  Half  of  all new cars registered had a diesel engine, compared to
46.3% over January – May last year.

Demand  for  commercial  vehicles  cautiously  points  towards  recovery,
although  the segment of vans was the only one to record positive figures
since February.