European car sales plunge 11%
European car sales plunged the most in almost two years, with Renault and Fiat posting the steepest declines, as the region's sovereign-debt crisis led to reduced demand in Germany, its largest economy.
Registrations plummeted 11 per cent to 1.13 million vehicles last month from 1.27 million a year earlier, the Brussels-based European Automobile Manufacturers' Association, or ACEA, said today in a statement.
It was the 12th consecutive monthly drop and the biggest decline since October 2010. Nine-month sales dropped 7.2 per cent to 9.72 million cars.
"What has changed remarkably to the negative recently is the German market," Juergen Pieper, a Frankfurt-based analyst at Bankhaus Metzler, said before the figures were released.
PSA Peugeot Citroen, Renault and Fiat "are still suffering from their weak home markets, which is their biggest problem."
Four of Europe's five biggest automotive markets shrank last month, with drops of 11 per cent in Germany, 18 per cent in France, 26 percent in Italy and 37 per cent in Spain.
The debt crisis has pushed at least five of the 17 countries using the euro into recession, and there's a 55 percent likelihood Europe will slide into such a slowdown in the next 12 months, according to a survey of economists.
The ACEA compiles auto-sales figures from the 27 European Union countries plus Switzerland, Norway and Iceland.
The trade group is forecasting a 17-year low for full-year sales, and it predicted a contraction of 8 per cent to 10 per cent on October 10, steeper than a 7 per cent drop it projected earlier.