Europe's car crisis failed to bottom out in October, continuing three years of persistently decreasing new registrations. Some consolation might be seen in a slower pace of decline compared with September.
In October, markets in the 27-nation EU shrank 4.8 percent, to a total of 959,400 new cars registered, the European Automobile Manufacturers' Association (ACEA) announced Friday.
The year-on-year decline was lower than in September, ACEA noted, when 10.8 percent fewer cars were sold than in the same month a year ago.
Figures for the first nine months of 2012 showed a drop of 7.3 percent, to 10.3 million cars. Commercial vehicle registrations suffered an even sharper drop, down 10.7 percent over the past nine months, and 13.7 percent in October.
The only car market in Europe reporting sizable sales increases in October was Britain, expanding by 12.1 percent in the month and adding to its 5 percent growth so far in 2012.
With just 0.5 percent growth, the German domestic car market virtually stagnated last month. Markets in all other EU countries remained in the tight grip of recession, with Spain and Italy posting the biggest monthly declines at 21.7 percent and 12.4 percent, respectively.
The German group VW appears to become the winner of the ongoing car crisis as it was able to boost its market share in Europe from 23.9 percent in October 2011 to 25.5 percent last month.
Europe's second biggest carmaker, PSA Peugeot, was able to maintain its 12 percent market share, ACEA figures showed.
By contrast, General Motor's German subsidiary, Opel, saw market share dwindle to just 6 percent due to a sharp decline in sales by 12.8 percent in the course of 2012.
uhe/mkg (Reuters, dapd)