Large drop in turnover for car and motorcycle trade

13/06/2013 15:00

Turnover in the Dutch car and motorcycle trade was almost 17 percent down in the first quarter of 2013 compared with the same period last year. Similar developments are being observed in neighbouring countries. Businesses in this sector expect the decrease to continue into the second quarter.

Turnover down across the board

The decrease of nearly 17 percent in the first quarter of 2013 is the largest turnover fall in the car and motorcycle trade since the second quarter of 2009. No branch within the sector  managed to escape the economic malaise. Turnover of companies active in trade and repairs of both cars and motorcycles dropped sharply.  The falls of 17 and nearly 20 percent respectively, were the largest ever measured in these branches by Statistics Netherlands. Car importers, too, faced lower turnover levels: 23 percent down on twelve months previously.

Turnover in car and motorcycle trade

Turnover in car and motorcycle trade

Lower turnover in neighbouring countries

In spite of a range of measures to stimulate car sales, turnover developments in neighbouring countries are showing a similar pattern to that in the Netherlands. In Belgium, Germany, France and Luxembourg, too, turnover has decreased the last twelve months. In 2011 the sector realised higher turnover levels in these countries, just as in the Netherlands.

Turnover in car and motorcycle trade, the Netherlands and neighbouring countries

Turnover in car and motorcycle trade, the Netherlands and neighbouring countries

Sombre prospects

The main reason for the decline in the sector is the drop-off in sales. Half the businesses surveyed in April 2013 said lack of demand was their biggest problem. This is more than double the share reporting this in the fourth quarter of 2011.

Prospects are sombre, too. Businesses expect turnover will fall further  in the second quarter. They also foresee lower selling prices and reductions in staff levels.

Main bottlenecks for car and motorcycle traders

Main bottlenecks for car and motorcycle traders

Niek Verbaan and Derk van Wijk