November 16, 2012 / 7:05 AM / 5 years ago

European car market shrinkage slows in Oct

MILAN, Nov 16 (Reuters) - Europe’s new car market shrank at a slower pace in October than in recent months, but nearly all major groups still suffered double-digit declines, as consumers showed little inclination to make big-ticket purchases in a slow economy.

New car registrations in the European Union dropped 4.8 percent last month to 1.00 million vehicles, data published by Brussels-based industry group ACEA showed on Friday.

While October’s decline was the second-smallest in a year, mass market carmakers such as Peugeot, Renault and General Motors’ Opel, which have borne the brunt of the downturn, are struggling to cut costs to survive until consumers feel confident enough about the future to start spending again.

The ACEA figures showed even Europe’s best-selling brand, Germany’s Volkswagen, posted a 0.5 percent dip in sales to 127,793 cars.

So far this year, western Europe’s car market has shrunk by 7.3 percent to 10,327,276 million vehicles, ACEA said, led by double-digit declines in crisis-hit Greece, Portugal and Italy.

The UK was the only major market to post material growth in October, up 12.1 percent.

Ford, Europe’s second-best selling brand, saw sales fall 8.3 percent to 72,330 cars, and GM’s Opel brand in third place shrank by 12.8 percent to 57,758.

Peugeot regained its place as the best-selling French brand, selling 63,997 cars, or 4.5 percent less than a year earlier, to Renault’s 63,690, down 25.5 percent.

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