Italy car sales drop 17.4 percent in February - Ministry

MILAN, March 1 Fri Mar 1, 2013 12:24pm EST

MILAN, March 1 (Reuters) - New car sales in Italy, Europe's fourth-largest car market, fell 17.4 percent in February from the same month a year ago to 108,419 vehicles, Italy's Transport Ministry said on Friday.

In January, car sales in recession-hit Italy plunged 17.58 percent, adding to a decline for all of 2012 of 19.8 percent.

Automakers are facing a sustained slump in the European car market against the backdrop of the euro zone debt crisis and government austerity measures.

Fiat's market share was 28.5 percent in February, against 30.1 percent in January, according to a statement by the automaker. Fiat is Europe's tenth-biggest selling brand by volume.

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