PARIS/BERLIN Dec 14 Renault and PSA
Peugeot Citroen led a 10 percent decline in European
car sales, the market's first double-digit contraction in more
than two years, as economic gloom spread north and east in
The French suffered most - closely followed by General
Motors and Fiat - as demand weakened sharply at
home, in Germany and in eastern Europe, according to data
published on Friday by the Association of European Carmakers.
Total European registrations fell to 965,918 cars for the
month and 11.69 million for January-November, down 7.2 percent
on the same period last year.
With December a seasonally weak sales month, Europe appears
on course to record a similar drop for the year as a whole, to
about 12.2 million total sales - its lowest in close to two
Paris-based Peugeot, which is scrapping more than 10,000
jobs and a car plant to stem losses, suffered a 16 percent
regional sales slide as its home market shrank 19 percent.
Renault's November registrations plunged 27 percent as the
spreading economic weakness hurt sales of its no-frills Dacia
brand, which until recently had resisted the worst of the slump.
Ripple effects are still being felt from the collapse of
austerity-strapped Mediterranean auto markets last year.
German registrations dropped 3.5 percent last month after a
0.5 percent dip in October. The decline also worsened in eastern
Europe - from 2.2 percent to 6.7 percent in Poland and from 7.4
percent to 11 percent in the Czech Republic.
Volkswagen, Europe's biggest automaker, posted a
2.5 percent sales drop led by the core VW brand.
GM and Fiat both tumbled 13 percent, while Ford paced
the market's 10 percent fall.
The last time European auto sales fell 10 percent or more
was in October 2010, when the market recorded a 16 percent
year-on-year contraction to 1.06 million cars.