European automakers don't face the same threats as their US counterparts, but sales are falling dramatically in European markets too. European car sales have plummeted due to sagging consumer confidence and lack of credit.

GM is in trouble and everyone knows it. But GM Europe also lost $1 billion (US) in the 3rd quarter of the year and many of its European competitors are being hurt too by a dramatic fall in sales.

But because European automakers are not in the same kind of trouble their US counterparts are, the prospects for bailouts in Europe remain slim.

On Tuesday, the German government turned down a request for aid from General Motors targeted at their factories in Germany. GM Europe's Opel division has pushed the German government for a 40 billion euro loan to the automotive industry from the European Investment Bank.

Sales have fallen dramatically in both Western and Eastern Europe and have even slowed in a fast-growing market like Russia. All automakers, including Toyota, have had to drastically reduce their sales projections for 2009.

BMW sales were down 9.2% for October in Europe. Mercedes-Benz cars were down 18.1%, their first decline in 15 years.

GM Europe sales were down 12.3% for the third quarter of the year.

Ford of Europe sales were down 12.4% for the month of October in its main 19 European markets.

Car sales have been hurt by sagging consumer confidence and a lack of available credit to fund car purchases. And European automakers' credit division are no longer providing the profits they once did as they experience the fallout from the global credit crunch.

While European automakers have not announced any plant closings, in many cases, they have shut down production.

GM Europe reduced its yearly production by 40,000 vehicles by closing down most of its plants during the month of October.

BMW said it would idle its Regensburg plant for four weeks starting December 8th.

Fiat has scheduled two plants in Spain to close for 50 days.

Renault has announced a two week Christmas stoppage at its Dacia plant in Romania.

2009 will be a tough year for automakers in Europe too. But they, at least, stand a good chance of surviving it.


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