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New car sales show market is stabilising

Experts say the latest figures showing new car sales across Europe point to a stabilisation of the market.

Sales of new passenger cars during the first eight months of the year were up by almost 2% on the same period the previous year.

However, monthly sales for August dropped 1.3%, from 831,805 units this year to 843,059 units last year.

A spokesman for the European Automobile Manufacturers’ Association (ACEA), which produced the figures, says: "The market figures for the summer months, traditionally one of the weakest periods, show a clear drop in July and an almost flat situation in August, reflecting current economic uncertainties in a number of countries.

"Among the EU-15, only five countries – Denmark, Luxembourg, Greece, Spain and Austria – posted increases in July, but the number rose to 10 in August, with the addition of Sweden, France, Belgium, Portugal and Ireland."

The spokesman added: "Cumulative figures for the fist eight months of the year show an increase of 1.9% (+1.7% in the EU-15), pointing to a stabilisation of the market.

"In the EU-15, 10 countries contribute positively to these results. The increase is slightly higher in EFTA countries (+5.6%) and in the new EU member states (+2.2%)."

Country Jan-Aug 04 Jan-Aug 03 Variance
Austria 218,820 211,242 +3.6%
Belgium 354,005 325,955 +8.6%
Denmark 76,613 62,451 +22.7%
Finland 104,417 105,715 -1.2%
France 1,342,127 1,359,502 -1.3%
Germany 2,145,600 2,194,416 -2.2%
Greece 213,893 185,744 +15.2%
Ireland 141,270 131,808 +7.2%
Italy 1,581,316 1,563,239 +1.2%
Luxembourg 35,009 31,876 +9.8%
Netherlands 356,486 364,789 -2.3%
Portugal 137,153 131,960 +3.9%
Spain 1,045,705 932,798 +12.1%
Sweden 170,035 173,196 -1.8%
UK 1,649,195 1,633,585 +1.0%
European Union 9,571,644 9,408,276 +1.7%
Iceland 8,417 7,114 +18.3%
Norway 73,463 58,883 +24.8%
Switzerland 184,685 186,426 -0.9%
EFTA 266,565 252,423 +5.6%
EU15+EFTA 9,838,209 9,660,699 +1.8%
Czech Republic 93,411 101,631 -8.1%
Estonia 11,366 10,389 +9.4%
Hungary 137,860 136,376 +1.1%
Latvia 7,158 5,567 +28.6%
Lithuania 5,998 4,802 +24.9%
Poland 235,114 224,179 +4.9%
Slovakia 37,016 35,691 +3.7%
Slovenia 44,554 41,562 +7.2%
EU (new members) 572,477 560,197 +2.2%

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