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Black October for the automobile industry !

The Association of European automobile manufacturers (ACEA) announced the sale of 1,134 million new vehicles in October, a plunge of 14,5 % compared to October 2007, after falls of 8,2 % in September and 15,6 % in August. « We have never known such a serious crisis», said yesterday the boss of the German manufacturer Daimler, Dieter Zetsche, reported in the site lalsace.fr. The crisis in sales obliged almost all the European manufacturers to have or to plan production disruptions, with, of course, job cuts and difficulties for the suppliers.

According to the French newspaper La Tribune, «with a good month of September, the registrations of individual cars fell from 7,3% over the month in annual rhythm and relating to working days, to stand at 175.014 units, according to numbers published Monday by the Committee of French manufacturers (CCFA). Taking into consideration the sales of small utility cars, registrations drop from 6,2% to 216.139 over the single month of October ». It is the Black October for automobile manufacturers.

Always according to the same source, «the figures are not good for the two French groups PSA Peugeot Citroën and Renault. Sales for the first decreased by 4,7% to 54.967 units (+3% over 10 months to 542.522), sales for Citroën remained stable while those of Peugeot dropped by 8,6%. The market share of the manufacturer reaches 30,5% » and even the Rounanian factories of the Dacia, mention a production disruption.

There is one question, though. Will this drop have an impact on Tunisia and its exports where electrical and mechanical industries take up the second post?

Black in Europe but grayish in Tunisia.

During the last session of the UTICA board (Tunisian employer association) the employer representative of the region of Zaghouan said that, in this context , that some enterprises reported to him having some problems. He gave the example of « Outiliv » specialised in the manufacturing of security belts and covers for steering wheels, which dismissed 19 workers. He also mentioned the totally-exporting enterprises established in the region which started from the month of October to reduce working hours.

Representing the sector of electronic and electrical industries, Hichem Elloumi specified that «the sector he represents will be affected by the fall in consumption in Europe, including the goods consumption» and that «some groups [established in Tunisia] are revising their projects downwardly.

According to the figures of the Tunisian Institute for Statistics , related to exports in the first 10 months of 2008, exports in the sector of mechanical and electrical industries registered an important slowdown. Following the 34,1 % increase in the 10 first months of 2007 compared to 2006, the value of exports progressed by only 22,9 %, a fall of over 10 points. The decrease, even though there is no visibility of these exports’ volume and even if the value figures may be misleading by the change effect, was less important for the off-shore enterprises (9,9 points) than for the other enterprises (over 19 points).

On the other hand, the industrial production indicator (IPI) for the month of September 2008 and relating to the sector of electrical and mechanical industries, has also decreased sharply. Following the 29,7 % increase in the first nine months of 2007 compared to the same period in the previous year , the IPI of the first nine months of 2009 increased by only 12,7 % compared to 2007. This slowdown could be more important for the 10 months 2008. There is, then, an impact, even though it is mediatically less visible than in Europe.

The sales are still stagnant in Tunisia.

At the level of car sales by the Tunisian representatives [this is related through the compensation system, upon purchase by the European manufacturers of Tunisian components], the sales (or new registrations) which registered a slight rise between September 2007 (3513 cars) and September 2008 (3826 registrations), have, since last October a downward trend.

The month of October 2007 had indeed registered 3885 new registrations, all brands confounded. The month of October 2008, registered only 3591 new car sales by the Tunisian representatives. The drop is no doubt very slight (294 newly-registered cars), but this could mark the start of the plunge. This could also be wrong, if the representatives, some of them are already doing so, are doping the sales through promotions or by slight price decreases.

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