Japanese Carmakers Lose Ground in Europe

While some automakers are simply jubilating after posting very high sales thanks to European scrappage schemes, Japanese companies are still losing ground on the Old Continent as they fail to take advantage of these programmes. The statement belongs to business information group IHS Global Insight who revealed that the European market share of Japanese companies fell from 13-14 percent to 12 percent in the past two months.

According to a report by, Korean groups, along with Ford and Volkswagen, benefitted the most from the scrappage schemes, with their models, often praised for low fuel consumption and reduced emissions, proving to be somewhat popular among Europeans.

''The Japanese are caught between a rock and a hard place. The Koreans are out for a kill, trying to take the low price position in the market, while the Europeans have strengthened their design and technical capabilities, thereby squeezing the Japanese. This has particularly affected Toyota which has been extremely conservative with its technology, except for the Prius," IHS Global Insight's Christoph Stuermer was quoted as saying by the aforementioned source.

''The mid-price market is also moving away from the Japanese who have tended to produce boring, yet reliable, cars. This is particularly the case in Germany. You now have the VW Polo and Ford Fiesta which are full of technology, space and style and hard for the Japanese to compete with.''

To give you an idea on the current situation in Europe, Ford is one of the best-selling companies, partially thanks to Focus and Fiesta, along with Volkswagen, Hyundai, Fiat and Renault.

''When a manufacturer leaves a country there is normally a tendency for it to lose market share there. I think they will try and hang on to the factories they have got there. They may reduce capacity, but everyone is also getting ready for the rebound," Stuermer concluded.
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About the author: Bogdan Popa
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Bogdan keeps an eye on how technology is taking over the car world. His long-term goals are buying an 18-wheeler because he needs more space for his kid’s toys, and convincing Google and Apple that Android Auto and CarPlay deserve at least as much attention as their phones.
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