There appears to be no sign of a rebound in car sales in Spain or France where the markets were down 18.3 and 11% respectively in August.

This was particularly disappointing in Spain after a rise of almost 15% in July, the car manufacturers' association Anfac said. Last month’s figures were impacted by a jump in car sales in August 2012 ahead of a 3% rise in value added tax in September and calendar effects.

Anfac said that 38,872 cars were sold in August but added that a government subsidy scheme for the purchase of new vehicles could lead to a possible rise in September.

French registrations fell to 85,565 in August with Volkswagen, Ford and Peugeot all down, challenging hopes for a swift stabilisation of the market. France's CCFA industry group for new cars added that the holiday month of August is always slow in terms of sales making it harder to extrapolate trends.

Sales for the first eight months of the year were down 10%, but the Paris based organisation maintained its full year forecast of an 8% decline.

VW sales in France fell 24% while Ford and PSA Peugeot Citroen declined 19% and 17% respectively. General Motors bucked the trend, up 16%, while Fiat deliveries grew almost 10% and Renault increased 1.7%.

A French sales ban imposed on several Mercedes models in a dispute over air-conditioning refrigerants, lifted by a court injunction last week, saw the brand’s sales fall to just 1,927 vehicles, down 37% year on year.