ByÂ Luca CiferriÂ
Automotive News EuropeÂ
December 10, 2007 -- 06:01 CET
Europe is challenging the US for the title of world's largest auto market.
The US once led Europe by a wide margin. But with sliding US demand and soaring sales in central and eastern Europe, the 2007 race is close.
Whether it matters is subject to debate.
But the narrowing gap underlines the big changes defining the industry on both sides of the Atlantic Ocean.
Europe could pass the US to become the world's largest sales market
* 10-month sales
Sources: ACEA, ANE Data Center
In 2006, US new-car sales totaled 15,599,970. That was 740,000 units more than Europe, which in this comparison includes western, central and eastern Europe. But in the first 10 months of 2007, that gap had narrowed to a mere 10,980 units.
The trend reflects several factors:
Analysts say full-year 2007 sales will be about 16 million in each region.
In the first 10 months. European sales grew 1.2 percent to 13,572,669 units. But US sales dropped 2.48 percent to 13,583,559. Analysts see Europe as the clear winner in 2008 at just over 16 million while the US slumps further.