Dec 04

Chart Of The Day: The Unprecedented Implosion Of European Car Sales (ZeroHedge, Dec 4, 2012):

The graphic below, which presents an unvarnished picture of Europe’s true economic state, needs no explanation:

Source: FT

In the context of the above, no explanation is also needed that quietly, and without much fanfare, French car-maker, Peugeot, and Europe’s second largest after VW, was recently GMed, and received a government bailout.

Carmaker Peugeot gets $9.1B government bailout

The French government has agreed to underwrite up to €7 billion ($9.1 billion) of bonds issued by Banque PSA Finance SA, the financing unit of carmaker PSA Peugeot Citroen SA, allowing the French automaker to offer low-cost credit to its dealerships and clients amid a slump in sales.

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Oct 02

Worse Than The Infamous Lehman September: France’s Private Sector Gets Kicked Off A Cliff (ZeroHedge, Oct 1, 2012):

This should have been an exciting moment: the Paris auto show, “Mondial de l’Automobil,” this weekend with over 100 new models from around the world, from econo-boxes with rounded corners to exotic prototypes that will never see production. Chicks next to some of them. Nausea-inducing colors, downsized motors. Something for everyone. But it had been preceded by two days of supplier events loaded with the dire verbiage of an industry that is on a death march. Particularly in France, whose private sector is veering into economic fiasco. And on Monday, it became official.

A barometer of the real economy in France, new car sales as measured by registrations, crashed in September—down 18.3% from September last year, and accelerating (year-to-date, sales were down “only” 13.9%). It was the worst September in years, worse even than the infamous Lehman September of 2008. And 2012 is shaping up to be the worst year since long before the financial crisis.

Of the French brands, market leader PSA Peugeot Citroen saw sales drop “only” 5%, helped by the introduction of its new sub-compact Peugeot 208. But year to date, sales were down 18.4%. Renault got killed. A stunning 33.4% plunge for the month and 19.8% YTD.

An equal-opportunity fiasco. Even the heroes from across the Rhine got their clocks cleaned in France. Volkswagen (VW, Audi, SEAT, Skoda) fell 17.4%. BMW and Mercedes where hit as well. GM (Opel, Chevrolet) tumbled 20.8%, Ford 31.5%. And Fiat, well, it might as well hang up its hat: down 38.4%!

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Jul 13

PARIS, July 12 (Reuters) – Workers at collapsed French car parts maker New Fabris threatened on Sunday to blow up their factory if they did not receive payouts by July 31 from auto groups Renault and Peugeot to compensate for their lost jobs.

New Fabris was declared in liquidation in April, so the workers stand to get no redundancy money, although they are entitled to draw state unemployment benefit.

They want Renault SA and PSA Peugeot Citroen to pay 30,000 euros ($41,800) for each of the 336 staff at the factory, or some 10 million euros in total, in return for its remaining stocks of equipment and machinery.

“The bottles of gas have already been placed at various parts of the factory and are connected with each other,” CGT trades union official Guy Eyermann told France Info radio.

“If Renault and PSA refuse to give us that money it could blow up before the end of the month,” he added

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