FRANKFURT -- Car sales in western Europe fell by 11.4 percent to 851,490 in February as declines were seen across all of the top five markets, according to research firm LMC Automotive.
The region's car market "looks decidedly weak, with nearly all markets in the region in a worse position than they were a year ago," LMC said.
New-car sales in France and Italy were worst hit last month as strong economic headwinds continue to hinder growth.
Sales in France fell 20.2 percent to 163,063 as the market continued to reflect the loss of a government scrappage scheme last year. In Italy sales declined 18.9 percent to 130,661.
In the UK, sales dropped 2.5 percent to 61,868, in what is usually a seasonally weak month. In Spain, sales were down 2.1 percent to 64,732 units.
In Germany, the region's biggest car market, sales were stagnant, sliding 0.1 percent to 224,318.
''The flat result in Germany was respectable given the ongoing difficulties faced by the euro zone currently. The selling rate climbed to an impressive 3.5 million units a year, much stronger than the previous month, though we view this latest result as being an exception rather than a new norm,'' LMC said.
LMC forecasts that full-year sales will fall 6.1 percent to 12.03 million in western Europe, down from 12.81 million in 2011 and a high of 14.8 million in 2007.