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Business

European car sales slump deepens

New car registrations in the EU dropped for the 12th consecutive month in September, intensifying cut-throat competition among auto makers for market share. The slump affects all main car markets, except Britain.

In September, new passenger car registrations fell to 1.099 million units, down 10.8 percent from the previous month, according to latest figures released by the European Automobile Manufacturers Association (ACEA) Tuesday.

The ACEA data show that Europe's car crises deepened in September as the pace of decline was slower in August with a rate of minus 8.9 percent.

Markets particularly hit by the slump were Spain at minus 36.8 percent, to be followed by Italy - down by 25.7 percent – and France with a retreat of 17.9 percent. Europe's biggest car market, Germany, suffered a decline by 10.9 percent in September.

Surprisingly, the British car market remained in robust shape, marking a rise by 8.2 percent compared with August, and continuing growth in sales of new units, which came in at 4.3 percent in the period from January through September.

ACEA attributed Europe's car crisis to the eurozone debt crisis, which had caused car sales to persistently slide for the past five years. ACEA President Sergio Marchionne said he expected overall sales in Europe in 2012 to plunge by about 10 percent over 2011.

According to LMC Automotive research group, new car registrations in the EU are not expected to rebound to 2007 pre-crisis levels before the year 2018.

uhe/sej (AFP, Reuters)