Fiat, Italy leads drop in new EU car sales image

New car sales in Europe hit again a new low. A total of 1,453,407 passenger vehicles were sold in the EU in March – down 7 percent compared to March 2011.

March is traditionally the strongest month for car sales across the 27-nation bloc.

Renault SA, PSA Peugeot Citroen and Fiat SpA led European car sales to a 14-year low last month as economic growth stalled because of the region’s sovereign-debt crisis Bloomberg reports.

Fiat-Chrysler combined registered 81,500 vehicles last month in the 27-EU and EFTA countries – down 25.8% compared to March 2011. In the first three months nearly 217,500 vehicles were registered, 20% fewer than in the first quarter of 2011, with a share of 6.3 percent vs 7.4 percent.

New car registrations in Italy sank 26.7% to 138,137. A European Commission survey showed that the proportion of consumers looking to make major purchases over the next year remained well below average in March, while worries about unemployment increased.

And – the current economic environment does not suggest an upturn in new car sales in the short run.
Unemployment among Europe’s young people has soared by 50% since the financial crisis of 2008.
It is rising faster than overall jobless rates, and almost half of young people in work across the EU do not have permanent jobs, according to the European commission.

In addition, more than 8% of European workers live with salaries that keep them below the poverty threshold, EU figures show.