Saab sales continue to crash in Europe

Sales figures for Saab Automobile continue to disappoint, dipping 61.7 percent in September compared with the year before. Meanwhile, Volvo’s car sales jumped 8.1 percent.

Saab sales continue to crash in Europe

In September, Saab sold only 2,246 cars to customers in Europe, roughly a tenth of the 22,776 cars sold by Volvo during the month.

However, the composite 2009 figures for sales through September are somewhat less encouraging for Volvo, with sales down 17.7 percent overall compared to the same nine-month period in 2008.

Overall, there were 145,174 cars sold in Europe between January and September 2009, a 6.6 percent decrease from the year before, according to the European Automobile Manufacturers Association (ACEA).

In September, sales numbers were up 6.3 percent across Europe, but down 15.5 percent in Sweden.

From the start of the year, car sales in Sweden are down 22.7 percent.

According to ACEA, the summer’s spike in car sales was due primarily to generous premiums which encouraged car owners to scrap older cars in favour of new ones.

Statistics from several countries in Europe indicate that the upswing in sales which started over the summer has continued into early autumn

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Sweden’s Volvo regains strength after pandemic puts brakes on earnings

Swedish truck maker Volvo Group was hit by a sharp drop in earnings due to the coronavirus pandemic, but business rebounded at the end of the year.

Sweden's Volvo regains strength after pandemic puts brakes on earnings
Volvo Group CEO Martin Lundstedt. Photo: Adam Ihse/TT

In 2020, the group saw “dramatic fluctuations in demand” due to the Covid-19 pandemic, chief executive Martin Lundstedt said in a statement.

For 2021, Volvo raised its sales forecasts in its trucks division – its core business – in Europe, North America and Brazil.

However, it said it also expected “production disturbances and increased costs” due to a “strained” supply chain, noting a global shortage of semiconductors across industries.

The truck making sector is particularly sensitive to the global economic situation and is usually hard hit during crises.

In March, as the pandemic took hold around the world, Volvo suspended operations at most of its sites in 18 countries and halted production at Renault Trucks, which it owns, in Belgium and France.

Operations gradually resumed mid-year, but not enough to compensate for the drop in earnings.

With annual sales down 22 percent to 338 billion kronor (33.4 billion euros, $40 billion), the group posted a 46 percent plunge in net profit to 19.3 billion kronor (1.9 billion euros).

Operating margin fell from 11.5 to 8.1 percent.

However, the group did manage to cut costs by 20 percent.

“We have significantly improved our volume and cost flexibility, which were crucial factors behind our earnings resilience in 2020,” the group said.

Volvo's business regained strength in the second half of the year.

“Customer usage of trucks and machines increased when the Covid-19 restrictions were eased during the summer and this development continued during both the third and fourth quarters,” it said.

“Both the transport activity and the construction business are back at levels on par with the prior year in most markets.”

For the fourth quarter alone, the company reported a 38-percent rise in net profit from a year earlier.