European Car Sales Plunge 10% From Last Year

European new car registrations fell by another 10.2 per cent in March from the same month a year earlier, marking the 18th consecutive monthly decline, to 1.307 million vehicles, data released on Wednesday by the European Automobile Manufacturer’s Association (ACEA) showed.

Almost all main automakers suffered declines, with the exception of two high-end brands, Jaguar with a leap of 21.2 per cent and Mercedes with a much more modest gain of 0.6 per cent, the association said in a statement.

The biggest drop was that of the French group PSA Peugeot Citroen, which sold 16.0 per cent fewer vehicles, and US giant General Motors, which was off by 12.8 per cent.

Renault sales were 9.6 per cent lower, but were spared a heavier drop owing to its Romanian subsidiary Dacia, which reported a jump of 20.2 per cent.

The Korean automaker Kia also posted a gain, turning in a rise of 3.7 per cent while compatriot Hyundai fell by 9.5 per cent.

A breakdown by country showed that the British market held up better then the rest, posting an increase of 5.9 per cent on the year and 7.4 per cent in the period from January through March from the same period a year earlier.

The biggest decline in March was in Germany, Europe’s biggest car market, which was off by 17.1 per cent, followed by France, which was down by 16.2 per cent.

For the first quarter of 2013 as a whole, new car registrations across the 27-member European Union fell by 9.8 per cent, to 2.989 million vehicles.

They have now been in a constant fall for a year and a half, and last year hit their lowest level since 1995, at 12.05 million units.

Copyright (2013) AFP. All rights reserved.

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