Europe's car buyers stayed at home in October

Spain led a series of sales falls in Europe's major car producing countries, official figures out this week have shown.

Car sales in Spain fell by 37.6 percent in October, said Spanish automakers' association ANFAC, the fourth month of double digit declines.

Italian sales dipped nearly 29 percent, according to the country's government, one of the worst falls in recent history.

In the UK, officials confirmed November 4 that October registrations were down 22 percent, the steepest decline since May 2009, although the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) said that the 2010 market would still be slightly up on 2009's overall sales.

Buyers in Germany, Europe's largest market, were equally reticent to part with their cash with overall registrations down 20 percent on last year according to figures from German automakers' association the VDA.

In France, the small scrappage bonus still in place did nothing to improve sales figures and October's registrations fell 18.7 percent compared to the same period in 2009.

The news is particularly bad given the uptick in sales across the Atlantic - October demand jumped 13 percent year-on-year.