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Europe's car sales slump deepens

Europe's car sales slump deepens
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There was no sign of improvement in European car sales as the year end neared.

Most of the top manufacturers saw fewer vehicles being driven out of their showrooms for the 14th straight month.

The biggest declines were in France, Germany and eastern Europe, while French carmakers bore the brunt of Europe’s deepening sales slump.

For the first 11 months of the year, there was a 10.3 fall from the same period last year with sales at their lowest level since 1993.

Renault was hardest hit with sales down by 27.7 percent, followed by Peugeot-Citroen (15.6 percent), General Motors – which owns Opel and Vauxhall – (13.2 percent), and Fiat (13 percent).

The spreading economic weakness meant Renault could no longer rely on its no-frills Dacia brand.

Peugeot saw its home market sales shrink 19 percent.

Even Volkswagen, the region’s biggest carmaker, posted a 2.5 percent sales drop, though it did manage to raised its market share and now turns out almost one in four of the vehicles sold in Europe.

Germany’s BMW and Daimler along with Japan’s Toyota also improved their market share.

With December a seasonally weak month in the showrooms, Europe appears on course to record its lowest sales total in close to 20 years.

Most industry watcher expect a further decline in 2013.