With fewer visitors to the motor shows and the showrooms, the latest figures prove how fast Europe’s new car market is shrinking.
In September sales slumped at the steepest pace in the past 12 months as recession-hit drivers held off from buying a new set of wheels.
New car registrations in the European Union dropped 10.8 percent last month.
That was nearly the same as the fall in sales in Germany – at 10.9 percent – France suffered an almost 19 percent drop, Italy 25.7 percent and in Spain the decline was close to 37 percent from the same month a year ago.
Sales were down for the 12th straight month.
So far this year, western Europe’s car market has shrunk by 7.6 percent from 2011 according to the manufacturers’ association with Greece, Portugal and Italy recording the biggest declines.
The UK was the only major market to post growth, in September with an 8.2 percent rise, but that was because people had delayed buying until after the change in vehicle number plates which comes in that month.
The ACEA figures showed even Germany’s Volkswagen brand, which has mostly gained market share in past months at the expense of its peers, saw a decline of 13.8 percent in September.
Ford and Opel, Europe’s second and third largest brands after VW, respectively, fared no better than VW. Their sales fell by 15 percent and 16 percent.
Renault had a near 33 percent drop in September, ceding its title as the largest French brand that month to rival Peugeot.
BMW fared better, posting a near 11 percent increase in volumes.