GKN warns of lower European car sales

The dire state of the European car industry was laid bare yesterday as registrations in September fell at their fastest rate for 12 months and a profits warning came from the car and plane parts maker GKN.

Car sales across the European Union slid by 10.8 per cent last month to 1.10 million vehicles, according to the industry group ACEA. The UK was the only country to show any real growth, with September sales up by 8.6 per cent, thanks to the twice-a-year change of registration plates.

GKN warned: "Conditions have deteriorated in recent weeks and some softening in order books is evident, particularly regarding European automotive and industrial markets. Other automotive markets and the civil aerospace market are expected to remain solid."

Third-quarter sales rose 8 per cent to £1.6bn, driven by civilian aerospace and car parts demand from the US and China.

GKN shares fell 7.1p to 204.8p.

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