BERLIN -- Europe's automotive lobby on Thursday cut its forecast for passenger car registrations this year to a 1 percent decline from a 1% rise, blaming slower growth and business concerns over Britain's impending exit from the European Union.
ACEA said it now expected car sales in the European Union to just exceed 15 million this year.
"It goes without saying that any additional barriers, costs or delays as a result of Brexit will pose a serious threat to jobs and growth in the auto industry, both in the UK as well as in the EU," ACEA Secretary General Erik Jonnaert said in a statement.
In its industry guide published on Thursday, ACEA said production of vehicles in Europe dropped 0.2% from 2017 to 2018, amid a global decline of 0.6 percent.
Production of passenger cars in the EU was down 1.4 percent in 2018 from the year before, it added.
The bloc produces about a quarter of the world's passenger cars and employs some 13.8 million people in Europe, according to ACEA.
For the second year in a row, carbon dioxide emissions from new passenger cars grew, rising 1.9 percent from the year before.
Jonnaert said that put European carmakers at risk of not meeting the bloc's tougher emissions targets that start to take effect next year.
"The prospect of fines for not reaching the 2020 CO2 target is to varying degree a serious concern for carmakers," he said, adding the increase was due partly to a rise in sales of gasoline-powered cars, which produce more CO2 than diesels.
The share of new diesel passenger cars has decreased since 2015, when Volkswagen admitted it had cheated emissions tests by using software installed in as many as 11 million diesel vehicles sold worldwide.
In 2018, gasoline engines powered more than half of new passenger cars in the EU, while diesel accounted for 35.9 percent. Hybrid electric, battery-electric and other alternatively powered cars accounted for 7.4 percent.