FRANKFURT, Germany (AP) — European Union auto sales are sagging despite the return of modest economic growth.
For the first eight months of the year, passenger car sales were off 5.2 percent to 7.84 million compared to the same period last year, the European Auto Manufacturers' Association said Tuesday.
That's the lowest January-August figure since the group started keeping track in 1990.
New car registrations in August fell 5 percent from a year ago to 653,872, the association said.
The economy in the 28-country EU grew 0.4 percent in the second quarter, but the unemployment rate remains high at 11.0 percent. Countries hit by the eurozone debt crisis such as Greece and Spain face even higher jobless rates that have hurt sales of moderately priced vehicles. Luxury carmakers are doing better.
The August downturn was distributed across Europe's biggest markets. Germany fell 5.5 percent, despite a stronger economy than in other members of the 17-county eurozone. Registrations fell 10.5 percent in France, 18.3 percent in Spain, and 6.6 percent in Italy.
Britain was the only major market to expand, rising 10.5 percent.
Among the major carmakers, Germany's Volkswagen including its other brands was off 11.2 percent in August while France's PSA Peugeot Citroen slipped 17.3 percent. Renault Group rose 6.0 percent and General Motors was up 0.5 percent — as a large jump in sales of Chevrolet-branded vehicles made up for a 3.4 percent fall in sales of its main European Opel and Vauxhall brands. Ford was off 1.5 percent.
Luxury brands did better. Daimler's Mercedes was up 8.9 percent, excluding its compact Smart city car, and BMW AG rose 9.5 percent, excluding its Mini brand.
VW's Audi luxury brand, a chief competitor for Mercedes and BMW, however was off 5.6 percent.
The biggest market share over the first eight months remained with Volkswagen Group, including the company's other brands such as Audi, Seat and Skoda, with 24.9 percent, up slightly from 24.8 percent.
Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
Should a doctor be able to help a patient end his or her life? It's a controversial question that has been debated across the U.S. and on Wednesday, it was New Mexico's turn.
Investigators called it one of the worst animal cruelty cases they've seen. Now, more than a month after dozens of animals were seized from a property in San Miguel County, the owners are facing jail time.
The Office of the Medical Investigator identified the two victims in Sunday's plane crash which happened just south of the airport.
Gov. Susana Martinez is ordering that flags be flown at half-staff on Thursday to honor a Sandoval County sheriff's sergeant who died after being struck by a vehicle during a snow storm.
While Bernalillo County leaders continue to look for a way out of a risky investment plan that’s already cost taxpayers hundreds of thousands of dollars, the Treasurer’s Office insists it has an exit strategy well in hand.
It was a Food Network show that inspired some students at Sandia High School.