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Car Sales Drop to 17-Year Low in Europe

Registrations of new passenger vehicles across Europe fell 6% to 1.18 million units in June, the lowest volume for the month since 1996, according to industry group ACEA.

The U.K. was the only bright spot among Europe’s major market: Its sales surged 13% to 215,000 units last month. But volume fell in Germany (-5% to 282,900 units), France (-8% to 191,400), Italy (6% to 122,000) and Spain (-1% to 72,800).

Passenger-vehicle sales in the first six months of 2013 slid to 6.4 million units from 6.9 million for the same period last year. The U.K., with 10% growth for the six-month period, was the only major market to advance.

Dropping demand hit most of the region’s largest producers in June. Sales fell at Volkswagen Group (-4% to 286,900 units), PSA (-11% to 134,700), General Motors (-10% to 98,600) and Fiat Group (-14% to 79,900). But volume rose 1% to 116,100 units at Renault, and Ford posted a 7% gain to 90,600 units.

Results last month were mixed among Europe’s luxury brands. Sales fell at Audi (-9% to 63,600) and BMW (-8% to 76,500). Registrations rose at Mercedes-Benz (2% to 64,800) and Jaguar Land Rover (+1% to 11,000).