European car demand slumped in April, figures show

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Indy Lifestyle Online

European car sales remained sluggish in April, according to figures released this week.

Germany was the only major nation to post a rise in consumer sales, which gained three percent compared to April 2010, a total of 266,380 vehicles sold throughout the month.

More impressive was the overseas performance of German automakers, which announced first quarter results this week - Chinese buyers helped BMW to a whopping 400 percent increase in sales, reports showed.

In Britain, sales fell by 7.4 percent, a figure which was slightly ahead of forecasts but still lower than last year and the tenth successive decline in sales.

The best-selling vehicle in the UK was the Ford Fiesta, the SMMT said May 6, followed by the Volkswagen Golf, Vauxhall (Opel) Astra, Vauxhall Corsa and Ford Focus.

French automakers saw an even larger decline in sales, reporting an 11 percent fall as the vehicle scrappage bonus ended - French manufacturers were the worst affected, with demand for PSA Peugeot Citroen vehicles dropping by 21 percent and Renault down 19 percent.

Spain also reported a sharp slump, down 23 percent in April despite incentives from automakers as high unemployment and an uncertain outlook prompted consumers to cut back on spending.

Italian sales hit rock bottom, sinking to the lowest levels in 15 years in April, despite only dropping two percent compared to the previous year.

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