Carmakers are cancelling or postponing planned new cars because of the economic downturn. Renault, Opel and BMW are among car companies stopping or delaying planned new models due to difficult economic conditions.
- Renault have stopped work on a Megane-based crossover. They will delay the replacement of the Espace large minivan and a new top-of-range replacement for the Vel Satis.
- General Motors Europe have sidelined a planned range-topping Opel/Vauxhall, and may not build an Opel small SUV that was supposed to be made at their facility in Antwerp, Belgium.
- BMW have axed their planned X7 premium SUV, which was to be aimed at rivals such as the Land Rover.
Industry insiders also say Volvo have stopped work on new variants of their C30 hatchback, and Fiat could reduce their model development program to meet tough financial targets.
New products are a key sales driver for automakers and analysts warn that cutting back or delaying new models could hit companies’ long-term sales.
This year, Toyota have seen their sales in Europe decline because of a lack of new models. The carmaker’s European sales fell 12% to 445 000 units in the first half, according to ACEA. Last year, Renault CEO Carlos Ghosn blamed falling sales on a product trough.
Besides saving on product development, most of European carmakers are cutting production and revising down their unit sales and profit forecasts for 2008.