European new-car sales fell 7.4 percent in January after changes to emissions rules and consumer-incentive programs hit demand.
Registrations dropped to 1.135 million vehicles in the European Union, Britain and the European Free Trade Association (EFTA) countries, industry association ACEA said in a news release on Tuesday.
January's decline was the first drop in sales in five months and came after some sales that would otherwise have taken place in January were pulled into December, when volumes jumped 21 percent as automakers pushed sales of high-emissions vehicles ahead of the year-end policy shifts that added new taxes on many models.
Other contributing factors included weakening global economic conditions and uncertainty caused by the UK's departure from the European Union, ACEA said. The UK left the bloc on Jan. 31.
Ford's sales fell most among major brands in January, down 19 percent, followed by Renault Group with registrations down 16 percent and PSA Group, whose sales dropped 14 percent.
At PSA, a 27 percent drop in Opel/Vauxhall sales weighed on the automaker, followed by a 9.2 percent fall in Peugeot registrations and an 8 percent decline in Citroen's volume. Upscale brand DS saw sales rise 47 percent.
Volkswagen Group's sales were flat. Among VW Group brands, Porsche gained 68 percent, Seat was up 9.2 percent and Audi gained 8.5 percent while VW brand was down 6.4 percent and Skoda's volume dropped by 2.3 percent.
Toyota's group bucked the downward trend with sales up 10 percent. Hyundai sales fell 3.9 percent, with Kia's volume flat.
Fiat Chrysler Automobiles saw its registrations decline by 6.4 percent, with Alfa Romeo down 31 percent, Jeep down 13 percent and Fiat sales falling 2.1 percent.
Daimler's sales fell 10 percent, dragged down by as 88 percent plunge in Smart sales as the microbrand goes all-electric. Mercedes-Benz sales dropped 1.4 percent. BMW and Mini sales rose 3.8 percent.
- Download PDF here for January sales by group, brand and market.