The European carmakers’ trade association Acea has issued figures that show the European car market down 1.3% in the first eight months of the year, despite a year-on-year gain of 7.7% in August.

[see also West European numbers released by JD Power earlier this month]

Eight months into 2011, a total of 8,888,793 new cars were registered in the EU, or 1.3% less than in the same period a year ago.

The main markets showed a mixed picture: Germany posted a double-digit growth (+11.2%), France remained stable (+0.4%), the UK was down 6.1%, Italy contracted by 12.0% and Spain fell by 22.2%.

The German OEMs clearly benefited from the strong German car market. In the first eight months of the year, market leader VW Group achieved sales of 2,055,233 units, up 7.3% on last year. BMW Group was up 11.1% to 514,201 cars sold.

Nissan was up an impressive 14.8% to 296,362 units, helped by the addition of the Juke to its model range.

Toyota Group sales were off 8.7% on last year’s pace at 296,362 units, while Fiat Group was down 12.5% at 654,582 cars sold despite a strong showing this year by Alfa Romeo (up 38.3% to 91,374 units).