Brussels, Belgium – Total vehicle production in Europe dropped by 26 per cent in the first three quarters of 2009, as automakers adapted stock and output levels to the economic crisis.

Output fell 21 per cent in passenger cars, while trucks decreased by 66 per cent, and vans fell by 50 per cent.

In all, 10.9 million vehicles were produced in the EU from January to September 2009, or 26 per cent less than in the same period in 2008. Among the five countries with the largest vehicle production, the U.K. fell the most at 43.8 per cent, while France dropped by 31.7 per cent, Italy by 26.4 per cent, 25.1 per cent in Spain, and 20.6 per cent in Germany. Among smaller manufacturing companies, production was down by more than 58 per cent in Austria and Sweden.

Over the whole year 2009, passenger car demand was 1.6 per cent lower than in 2008, and 9.5 per cent lower than before the crisis in 2007. Following a marked decline in the second half of 2008 and the first half of 2009, European new-car registrations picked up in the second half of 2009, reflecting the cautious upturn in the overall European economy, and the impact of fleet renewal schemes implemented in 13 EU Member States.

The market share of smaller cars rose from 38.8 per cent in 2008, to 44.9 per cent between January and November 2009. Average engine power and size decreased as well. The market share of 4x4s decreased from 9.0 to 7.7 per cent, while diesel cars declined from 52.7 to 45.4 per cent.

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