(Corrects first paragraph to show that February sales were not
lowest since records began)
MILAN, March 19 Europe's new car market shrank a
further 10.2 percent in February, according to figures from the
Association of European Car Manufacturers on Tuesday.
Ford, General Motors and Fiat were the
worst performers, as European car registrations fell to 829,359
vehicles after hitting a 17-year low in January.
Car makers in Europe are still reeling from a terrible 2012,
when annual car sales volumes in the EU fell 8.2 percent to
12.05 million vehicles in 2012. In the euro zone, they dropped
11.3 percent to just under 9 million, according to Reuters
This year is shaping up to be another tough slog for mass
market car makers, as consumers in recessionary European
economies postpone new car purchases.
For 2013, market forecaster LMC Automotive recently
estimated a 3.1 percent drop in western European sales to 11.4
million vehicles, compared with levels of around 12.8 and 13
million in 2011 and 2010, respectively.
European market leader Volkswagen's sales of its
core VW brand fell nearly 10 percent, and sales of its luxury
brand Audi fell 3.8 percent.
Korean brands Hyundai and Kia,
usually a bright spot, gained 1.4 percent and dropped 1.1
percent respectively. The duo have made a name for themselves
with attractively designed affordable cars that enjoy long
Another bright spot was the UK, where sales rose 7.9
(Reporting By Jennifer Clark, editing by Stephen Jewkes and