EU car sales take another blow amid sluggish demand | Business| Economy and finance news from a German perspective | DW | 17.04.2013
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EU car sales take another blow amid sluggish demand

European car sales have fallen to a new low as demand in most parts of the EU remains alarmingly low. Many auto makers have already offered sales incentives, but potential buyers are unconvinced.

New car registrations in the 27-member European Union fell by another 10.2 percent in March month-on-month, the European Automobile Manufacturers' Association (ACEA) reported on Wednesday.

It said that almost all main auto makers suffered declines, the only two exceptions being two high-end brands. Jaguar posted a 21.2-percent jump and Mercedes logged a marginal gain of 0.6 percent in March.

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On the other side of the scale, French group PSA Peugeot Citroen sold 16 percent fewer vehicles than in February. General Motors was off 12.8 percent.

No silver lining in sight

A look at individual countries in the EU revealed that the British market held up better then the rest, posting a 5.9-percent increase in new registrations. By contrast, Germany suffered the biggest monthly decline as sales in Europe's biggest car market dipped by 17.1 percent.

"Domestic sales are still a critical driver of German earnings, and the current trend is quite disturbing," Bernstein analyst Max Warburton said in a statement. "The risk is that Europe remains structurally very weak for many years."

ACEA's March figures defied earlier industry predictions of a rebound being around the corner. There has been no relief yet despite massive programs to support sales. Average retail car sales incentives in Germany, Britain, France, Italy and Spain rose by 13 percent to 2,400 euros ($3,200) per car in the January to February period.

hg/jr (dpa, Reuters, AFP)

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