(Bloomberg) – Ford Motor Co., Fiat S.p.A. and Toyota Motor Corp. led a ninth consecutive monthly drop in European auto sales as mass-market carmakers continued to suffer from the end of governments' car-scrapping incentive programs.
Ford's registrations fell 26 percent on year-on-year December sales, while Fiat's sales dropped 19 percent and Toyota's fell 9 percent, the Brussels-based European Automobile Manufacturers' Association said Friday.
Demand in the region fell 2.7 percent to 1.05 million vehicles after governments last year ended scrappage subsidies put in place to aid the auto industry during the recession.
"The scrappage incentive schemes have now run their course and because of that the volume makers are going to find it relatively more difficult in 2011," Jonathon Poskitt, an Oxford, England-based analyst with J.D. Power & Associates, said before the release. "The non-premium players will fare worse than the 2 percent decline we forecast for the full market including the premium makers in Europe."
Full-year sales in the European Union plus Iceland, Norway and Switzerland declined 4.9 percent to 13.8 million cars.
December registrations rose 6.9 percent in Germany, Europe's biggest market, helped by gains at premium makers BMW AG and Volkswagen AG's Audi luxury brand. Europe-wide sales by VW fell 1.3 percent, led by an 8.8 percent slide for VW-brand mass-market vehicles.
Largest markets decline
Registrations fell in all of Europe's other top markets of France, Italy, Spain and the U.K. in December. French registrations decreased 0.7 percent, weighing on PSA/Peugeot-Citroen SA, whose sales in Europe fell 6.3 percent.
PSA, said Thursday that it expects the region's auto market to stabilize in 2011. The company should benefit from the introductions of the Peugeot 508, the 3008 Hybrid4, the Citroen DS4 and later the DS5, it said in a statement.
France's incentive program ended last month after being trimmed in July to 500 euros ($670) per traded-in car from 700 euros in the first half and 1,000 euros in 2009.
Ford started selling a new version of its C-MAX wagon and will offer an overhauled version of the Focus compact in the first quarter. The carmaker said yesterday it's introducing "at least 20 new products and derivatives" in Europe in the next three years.
Ford Europe CEO Stephen Odell said the carmaker would refrain from trying to boost volume or market share through "widespread and excessive incentives" as that would hurt its business.