Peugeot loses ground as Europe car slump continues

Tue Sep 17, 2013 2:37am EDT
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PARIS (Reuters) - European car sales fell 4.9 percent last month, the Association of European Carmakers said on Tuesday, as PSA Peugeot Citroen (PEUP.PA: Quote) lost more ground to premium and Asian rivals.

Registrations fell to 686,957 cars in August, a slow holiday month, as sales slid further in France, Italy and Germany, taking the European decline for January-August to 5.2 percent.

"Downturn prevailed across significant markets," the association said in a statement, with the UK alone posting strong growth of 10 percent.

Automotive forecasters and industry executives are hoping tentatively to see European auto demand bottom out and stabilize after what is set to be a sixth straight year of declines to a two-decade low.

The August contraction was in line with the 5.3 percent combined western European sales decline announced by national industry bodies earlier in the month.

Paris-based Peugeot led the fall, with an 18 percent drop in registrations that eroded its market share to 11 percent for the first eight months, down almost a percentage point year-on-year.

Italy's Fiat FIA.MI dropped 4.9 percent, in line with overall demand. Market leader Volkswagen (VOWG_p.DE: Quote) fell 11 percent, weighed down by declining sales at its namesake brand.

VW's German luxury peers have increased their sales, partly at the expensed of European volume brands.

BMW (BMWG.DE: Quote) registrations jumped 9.9 percent in August and were little changed for the first eight months, lifting the group's market share for the period.   Continued...

A company logo is seen on a Peugeot car parked in Paris, February 12, 2013. REUTERS/Christian Hartmann