There was little cheer for automakers in the major European markets as the April car sales numbers highlighted a slump in deliveries in Spain, France and Italy and slowing growth in Germany.
Spain was hit hardest, with sales down 23.3 percent to 71,808, compared with the same month last year. April was the tenth consecutive month that the market has posted a double-digit drop in deliveries, industry association ANFAC said.
During the first four months Spain's new car sales fell 26.3 percent to 279,960. The fragility of the Spanish economy and the end of a car scrappage scheme have been blamed for poor sales.
France, Italy down
French car sales fell 11.2 percent in April to 169,453 units, showing the effects of the end of France's scrappage scheme, carmakers' association CCFA said. Between January and April of this year, sales rose four percent compared with 2010 figures.
France's highly successful scrapping incentive scheme ran out in December 2010, but drivers who bought cars as part of the scheme could register them until the end of March 2011.
In Italy, new car sales declined by 2.2 percent to 157,309 in April, the country's Transport Ministry said. This is 13th consecutive month that sales have fallen.
The fall in new registrations comes at the same time as drop in new orders in Italy, which automaker associations ANFIA and UNRAE said in April were 158,000 units, compared with 160,000 in April 2010.
German growth slows
In Germany, Europe's biggest market, new car sales growth slowed to 2.6 percent to 266,251 units in April after months of double-digit growth. In the first three months of the year, German new car registrations rose 14 percent, with double-digit percentage growth each month, industry group VDIK said last month.
In total, 1.03 million new cars were registered in Germany in the first four months, up from 10.7 percent the year before, the Federal Motor Vehicle Office (KBA) said in a statement on Tuesday.