European passenger car registrations fell by 6.3 percent in June to a two-decade monthly low as the region's weak economy hurt demand at automakers including Volkswagen, Opel, Fiat and PSA/Peugeot-Citroen.
Bright spots were Ford Motor Co., whose volume was up nearly 7 percent, Renault's low-cost Dacia brand where sales rose 16.4 percent and Volkswagen Group's Seat brand, up nearly 11 percent.
Registrations in the EU and EFTA markets declined to 1.18 million vehicles in June from 1.25 million cars a year earlier, industry association ACEA said today in a statement.
The decline dampened hopes of a recovery in European sales but some industry watchers said there were signs that the market is stabilizing.
IHS Automotive's head of European light vehicles sales forecasts, Carlos Da Silva, said the June numbers confirmed a slowdown in the rate of decline evident since March/April. Sales have started to bottom out but were not yet starting to recover, he said in a statement.
Volumes in the second half are likely to continue to fall, but possibly at a slower rate and the region remains "a dreadful zone" for most manufacturers, Da Silva said.
Commerzbank analyst Sascha Gommel said: "It's still a weak car market, and I don't think that it will get better in the very near future. I wouldn't expect a recovery in the second half, but rather a stabilization at a low level."
First-half sales declined 6.7 percent to 6.44 million vehicles, the lowest since 1993.
VW, PSA, Fiat hit in June
The June figure was the lowest for the month since 1996, said Quynh-Nhu Huynh, the group's economics director. Most volume automakers saw volumes decline during the month.