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The Bulletin

In Europe, car sales drop over 10%

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Automotive sales in countries in the European Union have hit rock bottom with few signs of a turnaround.

The BBC reports that car sales dropped across all 27 E.U. countries by 10.8 percent in the past year. In Germany, one of the world's largest automotive manufacturers, sales fell by 10.9 percent, while France was down 17.9 percent, Italy dropped by 25.7 percent, and Spain plummeted 36.8 percent. The only major market to see growth was in the U.K., which saw car sales rise 8.2 percent.

As Jay Nagley, an automotive consultant tells the BBC, there is little reason to be optimistic about future car sales:

"Cars are the ultimate discretionary purchase, in that you can hold on to it for five or six years and hold off buying a new one," he said. "We're nearing the bottom, I think, but the problem for carmakers is that there is no sign of recovery.

"You can't say that next year is going to be better than this year. In some parts of southern Europe, there is no car market anymore."

Fortunately, some car companies are looking to become more than just car companies. Take BMW, for example, they've developed an urban scooter, an e-bike, and they're even getting into carsharing. They're also looking to develop the urban vehicle of the future.

At least in Europe, it seems, it will take the reimagining of car companies as broader transportation companies to be successful.

Photo: Flickr/harry_nl

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— By on October 15, 2012, 11:32 PM PST

Tyler Falk

Contributing Editor

Tyler Falk is a freelance journalist based in Washington, D.C. Previously, he was with Smart Growth America and Grist. He holds a degree from Goshen College. Follow him on Twitter. Disclosure