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European new car sales back on a downward slide

Jill Petzinger
Jill Petzinger, Germany Correspondent, Yahoo Finance UK
Nissan cars are pictured, parked in a lot at its' Sunderland plant in north east England on March 16, 2019. (Photo by ANDY BUCHANAN / AFP) (Photo credit should read ANDY BUCHANAN/AFP/Getty Images)

It’s been a rocky six months for European car sales. After a slight uptick in May this year, new car registrations slumped by 7.9% to just over 1.49 million units, according to the Association of European Carmakers. The Brussels-based group attributed the decline to two fewer sales days in the month of June.

Sales were down last month in all major EU markets, with France and Spain bearing the brunt of the slump, with each country recording sales drops of more than 8%. Nissan and Volvo were the worst hit manufacturers, with the Japanese carmaker posting 27% fewer sales, while Geely-owned Volvo fell by 22%.

Overall, demand for new cars was down over 3% across the EU in the first six months of the year compared to the same half of 2018. Only Germany posted a slight growth in sales.

Calendar reasons aside, the automotive industry is in crisis mode.

A slowdown in demand in China, geopolitical uncertainty over the US-China trade war, Brexit, investment in electric cars, and the pressure to ensure their fleets are compliant when the new EU emissions regulations phase in next year is squeezing automakers from all sides.

Germany’s Center for Automotive Research warned in May that global demand for new cars could fall by more than 5% in 2019 from last year, as the industry faces tougher conditions that it endured during the 2008-2009 global financial crisis

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