New-car sales in western Europe declined 4 percent in October. The cumulative figure for the first 10 months shows a decrease of 1.8 percent compared with the same period in 1999.
Of the five main markets, Italy and the UK improved by 5.6 and 2.6 percent respectively. But Spain fell by 12.2 percent, Germany by 11.3 percent, and France by 2.2 percent.
ACEA, the European automakers' association, found it difficult to interpret sales trends across the region.
It said it a statement: 'Increases in the prices of fuel may be encouraging consumers to delay car replacement. Uncertainty about future interest rates in Euroland may also be a factor.' See ACEA sales tables, Page 31.
TURIN - Edoardo Agnelli, the 46-year-old son of Giovanni Agnelli, head of the Fiat dynasty, was found dead on November 15. His body was discovered under a highway bridge near Fossano, 80km south of Turin. Investigators suspect suicide. Agnelli's car, a gray Croma, was parked on the bridge above with the motor still running.
Edoardo Agnelli was a dreamer more interested in mysticism than making cars. He never played a major role within the Fiat group.
Award for 147
Alfa Romeo has won the European Car of the Year award. Alfa's 147 beat the new Ford Mondeo, which was runner-up. The Toyota Prius was third.
The Mondeo had been expected to take the award but judges, automotive journalists from all over Europe, voted for the 147's overall package of safety, handling and innovation.