European new car sales down 7.4% in January: ACEA

FILE PHOTO: Volkswagen export cars are seen in the port of Emden, beside the VW plant, Germany March 9, 2018. REUTERS/Fabian Bimmer/File Photo

BERLIN (Reuters) - European car sales fell in January, hit by a sluggish global economy, higher car taxes in some EU countries and uncertainty over Britain’s departure from the bloc, the European Auto Industry Association (ACEA) said on Tuesday.

In January, new car registrations dropped 7.4% to 1.135 million vehicles in the European Union, Britain and the European Free Trade Association (EFTA) countries, statistics by ACEA showed.

Sales fell 13.4% in France, 7.3% in Germany and 7.6% in Spain. In Sweden, a higher tax on cars, which went into effect in 2020, pushed sales down 18% in January, the biggest drop among EU countries, after a 109% jump in December.

Volkswagen's VOWG_p.DE sales were down 0.4% in January, while Renault RENA.PA and PSA Group PEUP.PA posted a drop of 16.3% and 12.9% respectively. BMW BMWG.DE was among the few automakers reporting an increase in European sales last month, rising 5.2%, while demand for rival Daimler DAIGn.DE fell 10.4%.

The drop comes as the coronavirus outbreak in China, the world’s largest automobile market, is expected to hit auto sector sales in January.

Reporting by Riham Alkousaa; Editing by Christoph Steitz