Europe already was looking at an auto sales downturn before Greece narrowly -- and perhaps temporarily -- was saved from a financial meltdown last week. What happens next?
On May 9, the European Union announced a 750 billion euro (about $945 billion) bailout for indebted nations after borrowing costs surged in Greece, Portugal and other countries. This has led to fears that countries throughout Europe will have to take tough steps that will hurt consumer confidence and delay for years an auto sales recovery in the region.
"We are more concerned about the medium term than for this year," said Nigel Griffiths, a London-based analyst with IHS Global Insight.
Renault-Nissan CEO Carlos Ghosn said last week that he was not worried about a serious long-term backlash from the debt problems in Greece and Portugal.
"I don't think that it will threaten the recovery, but it risks slowing it down," Ghosn said.
Based on the problems in Greece and other countries, J.D. Power Automotive Forecasting does not see a true recovery for western Europe's new-car sales starting until the second half of 2011, six months later than originally expected.