|European car sales down 6.6 percent in first half||| Print ||
|Written by Associated Press|
|Tuesday, 16 July 2013 06:09|
PARIS (AP) — The European car industry showed further signs of distress Tuesday, as new data showed that car sales were down 6.6 percent for the first half of the year on the same time last year.
The European automakers' association, ACEA, said that there were 6.205 million new car registrations from January to June in the European Union, providing further grim reading for an industry that is struggling amid a deep recession and high unemployment.
The car industry also had its worst June since 1996, with demand falling 5.6 percent from a year earlier to 1.134 million cars. The figures do not include Malta, for which there was no data, or Croatia, with just joined the EU.
Car registrations fell for 18 months to April, when extra working days created a small bounce. But the slide has since picked up again.
The economy of the European Union is in recession again, with gross domestic product falling 0.1 percent in the first three months of this year. Unemployment stands at 11 percent. Europe's car industry has long struggled from overcapacity at factories and uncompetitive wages and labor laws, and the region's economic crisis has compounded these problems, as consumers put off big-ticket purchases.
One surprising bright spot was Portugal, which, though mired in recession, showed a bump in sales of 2.9 percent for the first half of the year. It could be that after putting off buying new cars for so long, some people are now simply forced to get rid of their wrecks. The market in Britain also seems to be gathering steam, up 10 percent for the year.
But most places clocked deep slides. For January through June, registrations fell 8.1 percent in Germany, 11.2 percent in France and 10.3 percent in Italy. Tiny Cyprus, which agreed to a bailout in March, saw the biggest slide, falling 42.7 percent this year.
Copyright 2013 The Associated Press.