AM Online

2003 European market: down 1.7% after strong December

Preliminary figures from JD Power-LMC indicate that the West European car market dropped 1.7% in 2003, with a much better total than many had feared at the start of the year, of 14.3 million units.

The seasonally adjusted annualised rate of sales in December was the best for the year at 15.13m. Most of the strength in the selling rate came from Spain, Italy and of course the UK.

In the UK December, up 7.5%, produced one of the highest selling rates on record, at 2.9m units/year. JD Power-LMC say it remains a possibility that the UK market is undergoing further seasonal changes, which may have led them to overestimate the selling rate. However, they say the fact that 2003 was such a good year means that the explanation probably owes more to the continued strength in consumer confidence and good deals offered by manufacturers.

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