European new car sales fell 8.7 percent in February from a year ago as all markets
except the U.K. declined, Bloomberg News reported today. BMW was the only major
car maker to post a gain.

Sales last month fell to 1.08 million vehicles from 1.18 million in February
2000, European car manufacturers’ association Acea said in a faxed statement
quoted by Bloomberg. Germany’s sales fell 12 percent while sales in France fell
2.3 percent.

Analysts have predicted Europe’s car market will remain stable or decline slightly
in 2001 as Germany recovers from an 11 percent slump last year. The ACEA said
it’s too early to tell whether the decline in February is an indicator for the

"The basically good economic outlook and the expected tax reductions in
several European Union countries may provide grounds for more optimism later
in the year,” the group said.

The figures were pulled lower because there was one fewer working day in the
month than last year, ACEA said.

Bloomberg News said that volume car makers suffered last month. Volkswagen,
Europe’s biggest, dropped 8.8 percent to 203,304 vehicles. PSA Peugeot Citroen,
the second-largest, slipped 1.1 percent to 157,348. But BMW sales rose 1.4 percent
to 33,334 units.

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