ERJ staff report (DS)
Brussels -- New passenger car registrations fell by 9.5% in March, bringing the quarterly figure down to -1.7% compared with registrations in the first three months of last year.
In a context of economic uncertainty generated by the US financial crisis, car sales in Western Europe were affected most by the decline, with monthly registrations dropping by 10.2 percent, whereas the new Member States still posted growth in March (+3.5 percent) and the first quarter (+14.7 percent). The March results were also negatively influenced by the holiday of Easter being celebrated early this year.
Registrations in Western Europe dropped by 10.2 percent in March compared to the same month last year. Only the UK and Portugal saw new car demand rise by 0.5 percent and 5.2 percent respectively. The British market improved compared to January and February, remaining stable in the first quarter (-0.7 percent), although forecasts for GDP growth this year suggest a significant softening.
The markets in the new EU Member States remained on a growth path, with eight countries out of ten posting an increase over the first quarter of 2008. Poland registered the most new cars during that period (86,926 units or a 19.5 percent increase). Among the four biggest markets, Romania recorded the largest growth (+23.6 percent or 74,028 units). Hungary registered 42,559 new cars (+3.5 percent), and the Czech Republic 33,026 (+9.7 percent).
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Press release from ACEA