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Car makers suffer big drop in new sales across Europe
Last Updated(Beijing Time):2008-04-16 11:53

Toyota Motor Corp, PSA Peugeot Citroen and Volkswagen AG led the biggest drop in European car sales in more than four years as consumer spending slumped.

New registrations in March fell 9.5 percent to 1.65 million cars from 1.83 million a year earlier, the Brussels-based European Automobile Manufacturers Association said yesterday.

First-quarter deliveries declined 1.7 percent to 4.15 million. Sales fell 17 percent last month at Toyota, 13 percent at Wolfsburg, Germany-based Volkswagen and 14 percent at Peugeot.

European retail sales fell in March and consumer confidence dropped across the region as inflation, higher credit costs and declining house prices sapped spending, said Bloomberg News.

The drop in car sales was the biggest since the association began compiling figures for an expanded European Union in January 2004.

"What is most shocking is that the percentage sales declines for all manufacturers are deep into the teens," said Stephen Pope, chief global strategist at Cantor Fitzgerald in London.

"This reinforces my negative stance on auto companies. Good companies. Good products. Just an empty marketplace bereft of customers."

Peugeot fell as much as 1.67 euros, or 3.7 percent, to 43.70 euros (US$69.29) in Paris trading and was down 2.8 percent at 44.10 euros at 11:56am yesterday.

Volkswagen declined 1.36 euros, or 0.8 percent, to 178.14 euros in German trading after falling as much as 0.9 percent.

Industrywide sales in Western Europe, including the 15 countries that were members of the EU before May 2004 plus Iceland, Norway and Switzerland, slid 10 percent to 1.52 million vehicles.

Deliveries in the 10 eastern European countries that have joined the EU since 2004 gained 3.5 percent to 102,955.

Source:Shanghai Daily 
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