Car sales in key European markets suffered steep sales declines in September from a year ago after the loss of government incentives kept many buyers from showrooms.
Sales in Spain fell by 26.9 percent last month, the third month of double-digit declines following an end to government subsidies. In France, sales of new passenger cars fell 8.1 percent in September, while Italy's new car sales fell 18.9 percent.
In Italy sales by Fiat, which accounts for almost 30 percent of the market, fell 26.3 percent to 44,161 vehicles, according to Transport Ministry data
No major recovery is likely before next year, Fiat SpA CEO Sergio Marchionne said on Saturday. "The figures were completely in line with expectations," Marchionne told reporters at the sidelines of a conference in Florence. "The market is looking for stability, and until the process of getting supply and demand into line is completed, we will continue to suffer."
He said lower range models were feeling the most impact and added: "We'll probably have to wait until 2011 to see a pick-up in demand."
Decline to worsen
Industry executives in the region have predicted the decline will accelerate as state incentives for vehicle sales expire. The drop may amount to 7 percent, making 2010 a “low point” for Europe's car market, PSA/Peugeot-Citroen CEO Philippe Varin said on BFM Radio in France.