Europe's January car sales offer little hope of recovery
FRANKFURT -- New-car registrations in western Europe dropped 9.5 percent to 851,547 in January, pointing to a tough year ahead for auto sales in the region, market forecaster LMC Automotive said.
''Challenges for the industry in the region remain significant,'' the forecaster said in a statement, adding that the seasonally adjusted annualized rate [SAAR] based on January figures was at 10.5 million, a fall of 10.3 percent over 2012.
LMC said although some of the drop in demand could be blamed on bad weather and strikes, the monthly annualized rate was the worst since 1987.
Car sales dropped in all of the major regional markets last month except the UK where registrations were up 11.5 percent. Last week, the UK auto industry body SMMT said the market would rise to 2.06 million from 2.04 million in 2012.
In Germany, January sales fell 8.6 percent. In France, volume was down 15 percent to the lowest level for the month since 1997. In Italy and Spain, which have been particularly badly hit by weak consumer confidence, sales fell 17.6 percent and 9.6 percent respectively.
LMC predicted western Europe's full-year sales will drop 4.1 percent this year to 11.27 million, the sixth continual year of decline.
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