Europe new car registrations down 2.8 pct in June – back to ’94 level image

New car registrations in Europe fell 2.8 percent in June, continuing the downward trend commenced in October last year. It is the lowest level since 1994.

First-half sales fell 6.3 percent to 6.9 million cars.

Auto sales in Germany, Europe’s largest economy, rose 2.9 percent to 296,722 vehicles while the United Kingdom increased 3.5 percent to 189,514, according to ACEA. Deliveries in France were almost flat, easing down 0.6 percent to 208,909.

But in Italy, car sales fell 24.4 percent to 128,388 vehicles and 43.3 percent in Greece to 5,527. Spain recorded shrinkage of 12.1 percent to 73,258 cars.

Renault SA (RNO), Fiat SpA (F) and PSA Peugeot (UG) Citroen dragged down first-half European car sales as the sovereign-debt crisis and unemployment in the region discouraged consumers from making large purchases.

VW remains the biggest carmaker in the region with sales up 2.8 percent in June, shrinking the drop in six-month deliveries at the German manufacturer to 1.5 percent or 1.591 million.

The decline has prompted PSA Peugeot Citroen (UG) and General Motors Co. (GM)’s Opel unit to announce the first French and German car-plant shutdowns in decades.

From January to June, Germany (+0.7%) and the UK (+2.7%), the two largest markets, performed better than in the first six months of last year. Downturn prevailed in Spain (-8.2%), France (-14.4%) and Italy (-19.7%).