PARIS: European car sales fell in August, bringing deliveries this year to the lowest since records began in 1990, as record joblessness in the euro region hurt deliveries at Volkswagen AG, PSA Peugeot Citroen and Fiat SpA.
Registrations dropped 4.9 per cent to 686,957 vehicles from 722,458 cars a year earlier, the European Automobile Manufacturers' Association, or ACEA, said yesterday.
Eight-month sales declined 5.2 per cent to 8.14 million vehicles.
The economy of the 17 countries using the euro emerged from a record six-quarter recession in the three months through June.
After-effects such as a jobless rate in the area that held at 12.1 per cent in July led industry leaders at the International Motor Show in Frankfurt a week ago, including Peugeot chief executive officer Philippe Varin, to stick to predictions of a sixth consecutive annual car-market contraction in 2013.
"We're still in red territory," Florent Couvreur, an analyst at CM-CIC Securities, said by phone.
"When people say we've reached the bottom, I say, 'watch out,' because the market is still decreasing. The drop is a little less steep, but we're still falling because of the bad macroeconomic environment."
Volkswagen fell as much as 1.3 per cent to EURO 180.70 (RM784.13) and was trading down 1.2 per cent at 9:14am in Frankfurt. Peugeot dropped 2.9 per cent to euro12.28 in Paris, while Fiat declined 1.1 per cent to euro6.07 in Milan.
The European car market rose 4.9 per cent in July to 1.02 million vehicles. The gain was the second this year, following a 1.7 per cent increase in April that marked the first growth in European car sales in 19 months.
The trade group releases July and August sales figures simultaneously each September.
Registrations in the past two months were affected by differences in the number of business days versus 2012, with one more in July and one less in August, the ACEA said yesterday. Figures for both August and the year to date were the lowest since the trade group started compiling numbers 23 years ago, economics and statistics director Quynh-Nhu Huynh said.
European Central Bank executive board member Yves Mersch said in Dubai yesterday that the European region is seeing "tentative green shoots" of economic recovery.
ECB president Mario Draghi said that while the euro area's return to growth in the second quarter is "welcome," any recovery is "only in its infancy."
The ACEA reports figures for the EU plus Switzerland, Norway and Iceland. Deliveries in western Europe, which excludes countries that have joined the trade bloc since mid-2004, fell 5.3 per cent to 632,825 vehicles in August. Four of Europe's five biggest car markets shrank last month. Bloomberg