European new car sales down 78.3% in April: ACEA

FILE PHOTO - A man and a dog cross an empty road during the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak in Madrid, Spain March 22, 2020. REUTERS/Susana Vera

BERLIN (Reuters) - European passenger car sales slumped in April as the first full month with restrictions imposed to contain the coronavirus pandemic across the continent dragged sales to a record drop, data showed on Tuesday.

In April, new car registrations dropped by 78.3% to 292,182 vehicles in the European Union, Britain and the European Free Trade Association (EFTA) countries, statistics from the European Auto Industry Association (ACEA) showed.

Sales recorded a double-digit fall in all EU markets, with Italy, the United Kingdom and Spain - hit particularly hard by the pandemic - reporting the biggest drops of 97.6%, 97,3% and 96,5% respectively.

Registrations tumbled by 61.1% in Germany and 88.8% in France.

Volkswagen Group's VOWG_p.DE sales decreased by 75% in April, while Renault RENA.PA and PSA Group PEUP.PA reported a drop of 79.5% and 82.4%, respectively.

Luxury automakers also posted a drop in April, with BMW BMWG.DE falling 69.7% and rival Daimler DAIGn.DE slumping 80.1%.

Major European car makers have started reopening plants and resuming partial production in May but low demand has pushed automakers like Volkswagen to pause production for some models.

Reporting by Riham Alkousaa; Editing by Tom Sims