Brussels, Belgium – New passenger car registrations in Europe dropped by 4.9 per cent in May 2009 compared to May 2008, but several countries reported marked improvements, including a 39.7 per cent rise in Germany, due to fleet renewal schemes.

In total, 1,270,195 new passenger car registrations were recorded in May 2009. The 4.9 per cent drop marked 13 consecutive months of negative sales, with a year-to-date decline of 13.9 per cent.

In Western Europe, new registrations totalled 1,197,292 vehicles, a drop of 3.2 per cent overall from May 2008. Positive results were marked in Austria (up 4.8 per cent), Greece (up 5.1 per cent), France (up 11.8 per cent) and Germany (up 39.7 per cent), reflecting market support for “scrappage” schemes that provide incentives to replace vehicles. Italy was down 8.6 per cent. The U.K. was down 24.8 per cent and Spain was down 38.7 per cent, as new incentive schemes have not yet affected registration figures. Year-to-date to the end of May, Germany was up 22.8 per cent, the only market to expand over the period. Overall Western Europe sales to date were down 12.8 per cent.

The new EU Member States were down 26.0 per cent in May, with the only growth in Czech Republic, up 20.5 per cent, and Slovakia, up 46.4 per cent. The downturn ranged from a drop of 3.1 per cent in Poland to 80.4 per cent in Latvia. Year-to-date sales to the end of May in the region were down 27.9 per cent, although Poland was up 0.7 per cent during the period, Slovakia was up 1.3 per cent, and the Czech Republic was up 5.5 per cent.

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