European New Car Registrations in February fell 9.2 percent image

In February, new car registrations were down by 9.7% in Europe (EU27), compared to February 2011, totaling 888,878 units, Brussels-based European Automobile Manufacturers’ Association, or ACEA, said today in a statement.

The drop was the biggest in more than a year and marked the fifth successive monthly year-on-year decline in the EU’s car market.

Sales in France, Europe’s second-biggest market after Germany, plummeted 20 percent, while deliveries in Italy, its third-biggest, plunged 19 percent.

While results in Spain (-0.1%), Germany (-0.2%) and the UK (-0.8%) were slightly negative, Italy (-17.8%) and France (-20.5%) recorded double-digit drops.

Outside of the largest Eurozone economies, the steepest annual declines were in Portugal (-48.4%), Greece (-45.2%) and Slovenia (-22.4%). Conversely, Estonia (+29.7%) led the way in gains. Figures for Malta were unavailable.

In the first two months of 2012, registrations in EU totaled 1.85 million, or 8.3 percent less than in the same period a year earlier.