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New car sales in Europe fall amid deepening economic gloom

New car registrations in Europe fell by 1.8 percent in October, the European Automobile Manufacturers’ Association said Wednesday, amid signs of deepening economic gloom across the region.

The month-on-month drop brought total new registrations in the 27-member European Union down to 1.01 million vehicles, with sharp falls in the nations that have emerged at the heart of Europe’s debt crisis.

This includes Italy and Spain, where new car registrations slumped by 5.5 per cent and 6.7 per cent respectively on the month in October. Between January and October registrations tumbled by 10.8per cent in Italy and 19.7 per cent in Spain, the Brussels-based ACEA said.

The monthly falls in the three cash-strapped nations that have tapped the EU-led bailout out ― Greece, Ireland and Portugal ― was even more dramatic. Registrations plunged 51.8 per cent in Ireland, 40.5 per cent in Portugal and 35.7 per cent in Greece.

Automotive forecasters J.D. Power & Associates predict that car sales in Western Europe will drop to 12.6 million vehicles in 2012from the 12.8 million projected for this year. Car sales came in at13 million in 2010.

This follows moves by governments across Europe to mount a tough round of fiscal austerity to cut back high deficit-and-debt levels. 

(DPA)
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