“Europe is not only an incredibly competitive and crowded market, it’s also an incredibly complex market: 31 countries each with their own regulations and taxation regime,” Kia Europe operations chief Michael Cole told Automotive News, fresh from unveiling the brand’s next-generation Picanto mini-car here.
Questioned by European Union parliamentarians about the patchwork of car taxes, Finance Commissioner Pierre Moscovici admitted last March that the problem was a “source of high administrative burden for citizens,” but past legislative proposals to fix this “did not obtain the required unanimous support of member states.”
Financial reporting practices also differ: U.S. carmakers break out their results by region, creating instant yet often ugly transparency — particularly when losses in Europe ballooned in 2013. Many companies, however, don’t bother informing investors whether their operations in Europe are in the red, including potential Opel owner PSA Group. Volkswagen, for example, did away with regional accounting 10 years ago in favor of global results by brand, helping to conceal its chronic losses in North America.