FRANKFURT – Germany and France posted modest rises in new-car registrations in October, while Spain and Italy saw sales decline.
Sales of new cars in Germany slowed to 258,253 units last month, 0.6 percent higher than the year before, the VDA industry association said.
In the first ten months, sales in Germany are up 9.8 percent to 2.66 million.
A slowdown in European sales continued in France. Sales rose 2.8 percent in October to 176,203 units, the carmakers' association CCFA said.
"Once again, it is aggressive pricing policies by carmakers that fended off the worst," Xerfi analyst Philippe Gattet wrote in a research note.
Aggressive discounting by carmakers lures drivers into showrooms but takes its toll on the companies' profit margins.
"We must make no mistake -- the economic situation is getting worse in France," Gattet said.
PSA/Peugeot-Citroen's new-car registrations fell 4.5 percent in France in October, while rival Renault's rose 11.3 percent.
Deliveries in France have gained 0.4 percent to 1.8 million units over the first 10 months of the year..
Spain, Italy pain
In Spain, new-car sales fell 6.7 percent to 57,278, industry association ANFAC said, the worst October result on record.
New-car sales in Italy fell 5.49 percent in October as recent austerity measures and the threat of more to come dented sentiment. Fiat sales fell 2.9 percent.
Italian foreign carmakers' association UNRAE said car orders in Italy in October fell 12.5 percent to their lowest levels on record, pointing to gloomy times ahead.
"The ongoing recession and further reduction to consumption by families hit by restrictive fiscal policies and rising unemployment will also impact demand for new cars next year," UNRAE managing director Gianni Filipponi said.
UNRAE, which sees a fall in Italy's car sales this year of over 10 percent, forecasts a 2 percent year-on-year fall in 2012.
Reuters contributed to this report