Auto Sales in Europe Fall to New Low

In Europe, car sales continue to fall despite a modest amount of economic growth returning to the region. Over the first eight months of this year in the European Union, sales of passenger cars were down 5.2% to 7.83 million in comparison to the same time frame in 2012, said the Auto Manufacturer’s Association in Europe on Tuesday.

The figure was the lowest for January through August since records were kept track by the association starting in 1990. In August, registrations of new cars dropped by 5% from the same month a year ago and ended the month at 653,872.

The economy, in the EU that consists of 28 countries, increased by 0.4% during the second quarter. However, the rate of unemployment is very high at an average of 11%. That makes if difficult or impossible for consumers to buy new cars.

Governments that have been hit by the debt crisis in the eurozone have slashed their spending and increased taxes in an attempt to manage debt levels that are oversized. Countries included in that are Spain, Greece and Portugal. The downturn in sales for August was distributed across the largest markets in Europe.

Germany saw a drop of 5.5%, despite its economy growing more than other members of the union. Registrations were lower by 10.5% in France, 6.6% for Italy and 18.3% for Spain. Britain was the only major car market that increased, rising by 10.5%.

One analyst said figures were suggesting that the market was near bottoming out as the decline slowed from 9.7% during the first quarter of 2013.

Global executives in the auto industry remain somewhat cautious. They said at an auto show in Frankfurt that while the market in Europe may have reached its bottom, an increase in demand is not expected in the near future.

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