New car sales in Europe suffered their worst June since 1996 with demand falling to 1,134,042 vehicles.
That total was down 5.6% from the same month last year.
It brought sales for the first half of the year to 6,204,990 cars, a 6.6% fall, according to the European auto industry body ACEA .
The UK was the only major car market to expand, with sales up 13.4% in June year-on-year and 10% ahead for the six months.
In contrast, in the first half of this year Germany's market was down 8.1% (132,000 units), France down 11.2% (117,000 units), Italy down 10.3% (85,000 units) and Spain down 4.9% (20,000 units).
Among the smaller markets the Netherlands was down 36% or almost 120,000 units and Ireland was down 20% or 13,000 units, although Belgium grew by 1.7% or 4,700 units and Denmark's market rose 9% or 7,500 units.
The figures relate to the 27 countries in the European Union plus those in the European Free Trade Association.
Norbert Reithofer, the chief executive of BMW, said in a German newspaper interview this morning that he did not expect a pick-up in Western Europe's markets until the middle of next year.