Impact: Europe new car sales down 7.7% IN FIRST QUARTER 2012 image

From January to March, new car sales across the 27-member European Union, also Switzerland, Norway and Iceland fall 7.7 percent according to the European Automobile Manufacturers’ Association. A total of 3,312,657 new vehicles were registered.

Looking at the major markets, the German (+1.3%) and British (+0.9%) slightly expanded, while the Spanish dropped by 1.9%, and Italy (-21.0%) and France (-21.6%) faced a much sharper downturn.

Results in March were diverse across the EU* as Italy (-26.7%), and Spain (-4.5%) saw their markets contract whereas the UK (+1.8%) and Germany (+3.4%) performed better than they did in the same month a year earlier.

Car sales in France, Europe’s second-biggest market after Germany, plummeted 23 percent. Deliveries in third-ranked Italy plunged 27 percent.

Whilst many automakers felt the pinch in March, more so by Fiat, whose European sales fell by 26% to 81,469 unit sales.