New European Car Sales Slip 0.3% in January

The decline was driven by 1.6% fall over one year in the 15 oldest members of the EU while fast growing new member states continued to see a buying spree with an increase of 20.1%.

On weakness in all the major markets but Germany, the ACEA European automakers' association said on Feb. 15 that new car sales in Europe slipped 0.3% in January. Registrations of new passenger cars in Europe -- comprising the EU members except Cyprus and Malta, plus Iceland, Norway and Switzerland -- totalled 1,308,761 in January.

The decline was driven by 1.6% fall over one year in the 15 oldest members of the EU while fast growing new member states continued to see a buying spree with an increase of 20.1%.

"From the five major markets in western Europe, only Germany registered more cars than last year, with a 10.5% increase," ACEA said. While German sales surged ahead, new British registrations fell by 2.1%, French by 5.6%, Italian by 7.3% and Spanish by 12.7%.

Among the major brands, Europe's biggest carmaker the Volkswagen group saw its sales edge up 0.6%in January while the second biggest automaker, the PSA group, saw its sales slump 3.2%. Following them, the Ford group saw sales of its new cars fall 3.2% in January while the GM group's sales plunged 8.1%. Sales of new Renaults rose 0.4% while Fiat sales eased 0.7%. Toyota sales plummetted 10.5% in January while BMW surged ahead 13.2% amid fast growth at its Mini brand. Daimler saw its sales jump 7.7%

Copyright Agence France-Presse, 2008

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