LUCA CIFERRI

Financial fireworks hit VW; hammer Fiat and the French

Luca Ciferri is chief correspondent at Automotive News EuropeLuca Ciferri is chief correspondent at Automotive News Europe
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Fears that the sovereign debt crisis could soften an already weak economic recovery in Europe and the United States caused big trouble on the global financial markets this month.

Many auto stocks took a beating while others did fairly well despite the mad wave of selling.

Volkswagen was one of the more fortunate auto companies. Its market capitalization declined just 4 percent to 50.3 billion euros because of strong sales in China, the United States and Brazil.

BMW's stock value fell 15 percent this month, which is worse than VW's decline but much better than the 32 percent market cap dip Daimler faced during the month, data from Morgan Stanley investment bank shows.

Among the biggest market cap losers between July and August were Fiat (-40 percent), Renault (-36 percent) and PSA/Peugeot-Citroen (-35 percent).

To put the magnitude of those declines into perspective consider this: the French and Italian automakers' combined value is now just one-third as much as VW Group's (17.4 billion euros compared with 50.3 billion). A month ago, the combined value of Fiat, PSA and Renault was a bit more than half that of VW Group.

Because of the atrocious August, Europe's six largest listed automakers lost a combined 36.1 billion euros in market capitalization.

In percentage terms, BMW, Daimler, Fiat, PSA, Renault and VW are now worth a combined 21 percent less than they were at the end of July.

Korea's Hyundai and Kia also lost 21 percent of their value during that period while listed U.S. automakers Ford Motor and General Motors shed a combined 26 percent of their market cap value.

The news was better in Asia. Japan's Big 3, Toyota., Nissan and Honda, saw their market capitalization slide 12 percent. Meanwhile, China's Dongfeng Motor Group saw its market value main the same while Brilliance JinBei Automobile's value actually increased 8 percent because its joint venture with BMW had a very successful and profitable first half.

You can reach Luca Ciferri at lciferri@crain.com.

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