MUNICH -- European car production was down by its smallest margin of the year in July. Car output slipped 11.4 percent to 1,476,041 units in the month, according to J.D. Power Automotive Forecasting.
That's a big improvement from this year's production low point, which was a 39.7 percent decline to 1,070,474 units in February.
Through seven months, production was down 27.9 percent to 8,759,370 unis in western and eastern Europe including Russia and Turkey, compared with the year before. (See chart, right)
The sharp decline seen in February came before the launch of scrapping incentives in the five major European markets. Production numbers have improved steadily since governments started offering incentives of up to 5,000 euros to get people to trade in their old cars and replace them with a new, more fuel-efficient models.
Ford brand's production rose 22.5 percent in July to 102,886 units. Two of the big production winners in the month were the Ka minicar and Fiesta subcompact. Output for both models rose by more than 140 percent compared with the same month last year.
Volkswagen brand's July production was up 14.4 percent to 166,403 units. The reason for the increase was a 131.1 percent boost in output for the new Polo subcompact. VW built 55,932 Polos in July, up from 24,200 during the same period last year. The Polo, Ka and Fiesta have been popular choices among people who have been taking advantage of scrapping subsidies.