Car sales in austerity-hit France, Spain fall further

Mon Oct 1, 2012 8:07am EDT
 
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PARIS (Reuters) - Car sales dropped further in austerity-hit France and Spain last month, and France's CCFA auto industry association cut its full-year market forecast, highlighting the pain for automakers that have warned there is no recovery in sight.

French September car registrations dropped 18 percent year-on-year, while Spain's plunged 37 percent, the countries' main industry associations said on Monday. Italian market figures were due later in the day.

The Spanish plunge was accentuated by a September 1 sales-tax increase, which had brought forward some sales to August.

Would-be buyers also held out for renewed scrappage incentives introduced on Monday.

The September decline was nonetheless a "disappointing result", the ANFAC association said.

Scrapping incentives offer car buyers a bonus for trading in old cars for a new model. Previous schemes in countries such as France, Germany and Italy helped Europe's car market to withstand the last economic slump in 2008-2009.

European car executives gathered at the Paris auto show last week warned that a rebound may be years rather than months away.

CUTTING FORECASTS

Announcing the French market's 11th straight monthly decline on Monday, the CCFA slashed its 2012 outlook to predict a 12 percent slump, instead of the 10 percent contraction previously forecast.   Continued...