New-car registrations in Europe plunged by 16 percent in December as all volume automakers except Hyundai and Kia suffered falling sales. The drop was the steepest decline recorded for the month since 2008, industry association ACEA said today.
Registrations in the EU plus Iceland, Norway and Switzerland dropped to 838,428 vehicles last month from 997,842 a year earlier. Full-year sales declined 7.8 percent to 12.5 million cars, the lowest level since 1995.
The figures highlight the crisis that automakers face in Europe, as recessions in the southern part of the region cut demand and austerity measures in many countries raise unemployment levels.
Ford Motor Co. and General Motors Co.'s Opel and Chevrolet led the December decline, with European sales at both U.S. automakers falling 27 percent. Renault and Dacia sales were down 19 percent, while rival PSA/Peugeot-Citroen saw volume fall nearly 19 percent. Fiat Group sales dropped by 18 percent.
Volkswagen Group, the region's biggest carmaker, suffered a 14.5 percent decline, led by a 20 percent drop at the VW brand. The group's Audi division saw volume drop by 18 percent.