Bleak numbers for European car industry

The World

At this spiffy Renault showroom in downtown Madrid, this man works as Head of Sales, a title which almost sounds grandiose because the company isn’t selling much. The salesman says he averages a single visitor a day. He thinks this has to do with the economic crisis, generalized worries, and the fact that banks have shut off the taps when it comes to loans. Banks in Spain are short on cash because they lent too much to home buyers and builders in a red hot real estate market that’s gone cold fast. Now people only buy a car out of necessity, says the salesman. The auto repair shops are the ones with all the work now, says the salesman. Car factories are also feeling the hit and laying off workers in mass numbers. No country in Europe has been spared, except Portugal says this analyst. The analyst says she doesn’t think this crisis is going away soon, and the Renault salesman from earlier agrees. The salesman has already let go 25% of his staff, but the looming troubles in the sector of the European economy make it seem likely that Europe’s double-digit unemployment rate will be maintained and even escalating.

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