As recession grips Europe, consumers' lust for cars is waning, driving auto sales on the continent in August to their lowest numbers almost a year. The slump has affected all markets, except Britain.
New car registrations in the 27-nation European Union and the European Free Trade Association states - Iceland, Norway and Switzerland - fell sharply by 8.9 percent in August, according to latest data released by the European Car Manufacturers Association, ACEA, Tuesday.
August sales dropped to 688,168 units, compared with 755,732 recorded in July, adding to a 7.1 percent plunge in new car registrations since the beginning of the year.
The slump was most noticeable in the car markets of debt-laden Italy and Spain where sales dropped 21 percent and 17.2 percent respectively.
As Europe's car crisis continued for the 11th straight month in August, Germany also reported a decreasing number of new registrations, which dropped 0.6 percent from July and a staggering 5 percent since the beginning of 2012.
Surprisingly, car sales in the United Kingdom grew by 9.3 percent in the course of last month, continuing their robust growth of 3.3 percent in the first eight months of 2012.
With regard to European auto makers, sales development was more diverse, ACEA said, ranging from a 16.6 percent drop in the sales of Italian carmaker Fiat to a 1.3 percent rise reported by Germany's Volkswagen Group.
uhe/kms (Reuters, dapd, AFP)