Is the future of auto manufacturing looking grim?

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There can be no denying the official figures from Europe, which show a downturn in sales in France, Italy and Spain.  And remembering that a percentage of the Thai vehicle output is exported to Europe will make the captains of industry over here just a trifle jumpy.

France saw a drop of 8 percent.  Italy fell 9 percent, and Spain a whopping 18 percent fall.

One car maker who felt the plunge has been VW with sales in France down 24 percent, while Ford and PSA Peugeot sales fell by 19 percent and 17 percent respectively.  But those figures were well eclipsed by Mercedes who experienced a 37 percent fall year on year.

Some very minor gains were seen by Renault, in the 1 to 2 percent range, but over all, the European motor industry is reflecting the economic downturn with loss of jobs, youth unemployment and tightened credit.

However, even though Thailand has also seen a general tightening of the credit belt, the strong motor industry will continue to grow, albeit slower than was predicted a year ago when the government’s first car buyer plan was in full swing.