Europe's automakers say that a deepening global slowdown along with gloomy growth prospects and tumbling consumer confidence is now starting to take its toll.

Trade body ACEA has warned that automakers are faced with the need to sustain high levels of investment to support the market transition to low-emission vehicles without the backing of sufficiently strong consumer demand and political support.

ACEA's warning comes as it released car sales data showing that new car registrations in Europe fell by 8.2% year-on-year in September, despite two extra working days.

Markets in Western Europe registered 1,211,308 new cars in September, or 9.3% less than in the same month last year. ACEA's market numbers confirm estimates released by market analyst JD Power and published on just-auto earlier this month. JD Power noted that the September car market in Western Europe was the lowest seen in ten years.

According to ACEA, cumulative car sales from January to September declined 5% in Western Europe. France and Germany remained relatively strong markets, showing growth of 3.4% and 1.3%. Registrations in the British (-7.5%), Italian (-11.3%) and Spanish (-22.0%) markets dropped compared to the three-quarter figures for 2007.

ACEA's warning that automakers in Europe require more support in the face of tough market conditions follows an earlier plea for US-style low interest loans.

See also: UK: West Europe car sales at lowest level in 10 years

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