Europeans bought 1.1 million passenger cars in June, or 5.6 percent fewer units than in the same month last year, an indication the auto-sector crisis in the EU is nowhere near relenting.
Auto sales in 27 European Union countries have retreated 6.6 percent in the first half of 2013 compared to last year, and year-over-year monthly sales have declined for 12 of the past 13 months with only a slight 1.7 percent increase in April on relatively robust British sales. Croatia, which became the 28th member of the EU this month, is not included in the figures.
The UK saw a 13 percent rise in June sales and a 10 percent increase in the first half of the year while everywhere else -- including euro zone powerhouse Germany -- sales have declined. Italy and France saw double-digit declines between January and June.
June auto sales in this market haven’t been this dismal since 1996, according to the European Automobile Manufacturers Association, and unless a miracle happens in the second half of 2013, this year will mark the sixth annual decline in EU auto sales. German car sales slumped 8.1 percent, and the latest data on the country’s exports -- down 9 percent in May to 38.1 billion euros ($49.8 billion) -- suggests the auto sector isn’t going to rebound there anytime soon.