European annual car sales dip 6.5%

Statistics reveal that the number of new cars sold in Europe took a plunge in November, dipping 6.5% over the past year to 1.1 million vehicles.

According to the European Automobile Manufacturers' Association, November marks the eighth month-in-a-row for a decrease in new car registrations in the region, following a rise in sales seen in December 2009 and the first three months of 2010 as a result of the end of the scrappage scheme.

The drop in sales in the 12 months to November had been preceded by a figure of 1.18 million vehicles in the previous year.

Car manufacturer Fiat has had to bear the biggest brunt of the decline, having witnessed a 24% sales dip during the period. Toyota had posted a 20% drop, followed by Ford with a 15% fall.

Other carmakers, especially German ones, had posted better sales however, with BMW witnessing a 19% increase in new car registrations followed by Mercedes-Benz with a 2.5% hike.

The country's premium carmakers seem to have recorded more steady sales data, with the scrappage scheme having had little impact on the sector.

Philippe Houchois, analyst, UBS AG, said: "We're seeing a more contrasted picture. While Italy, France and their carmakers are still struggling, Germany is better than expected and its premium carmakers are finally beginning to stabilise."

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