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European New Car Market Contracts by a Quarter in November

According to data released by JATO Dynamics, the European new car market fell by 25.3% (313,361 units) during November 2008, when compared to the same month last year.

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Total sales for the month now stand at 924,936 units, down from 1,238,297 in 2007.

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This further decline in the market, which has dropped consistently over the past seven months, sees an increased year to date deficit figure in comparison to 2007. The total number of vehicles sold during the first 11 months of 2008 is 13,556,052 units – 7.1% (1,030,584 units) less than during the same period last year.

“The market is usually less buoyant at this time of year,” says David Di Girolamo, business manager for JATO Consult. “Though this is an unprecedented drop in sales, it’s not wholly unexpected, given the current economic climate. There has been some movement between brands in the Top 10 table, but Volkswagen maintains its increasingly secure grip on the top spot.”

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Volkswagen once more triumphed as Europe’s top-selling car brand during November, ahead of Ford, Renault, Opel/Vauxhall and Fiat. Top market performers year to date are Volkswagen, Ford, Opel/Vauxhall, Renault and Peugeot.

As expected given the current global economic conditions, the majority of markets across Europe recorded significantly lower new car sales in November 2008 than during the same month last year.

Most noticeably, Iceland’s sales fell by a staggering 94.6%, from 1,365 units in November 2007 to just 74 units in November 2008. Finland, however, recorded sales of 77.5% more than a year ago, with new car sales jumping from 3,631 in November 2007 to 6,445 last month. This still represents a downturn when compared to the same month every year for the past decade, but for 2007 when the market was depressed due to imminent tax changes. This depression also explains the year to date rise of 9.5%.

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The UK market dropped 36.8% during November, from 158,735 units in November to 108,333 in December. Year to date, nationwide sales are down 10.7%, from 2,266,047 vehicles to 2,023,103 units. (Tyres & Accessories/Staffordshire, U.K.)

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