The Western European passenger car slid 4% in June according to provisional figures released today by ACEA (the European car makers' trade association based in Brussels). New passenger car registrations in June were 1,296,434 units compared with June 1999's performance of 1,349,925. The cumulative figures for the first six months of 2000 show growth of 1.6% compared with the same period in 1999.

ACEA points out that the June result has been influenced by the number of working days and that June 2000 is not strictly comparable with June 1999: Ascension day and Whit Monday were both in June this year while last Year they fell in May. As a result there were less working days in June 2000. If the market numbers are adjusted for working days, June was flat on last year.

However, ACEA points out that there were also special factors at work in relation to some countries' June market totals:

1. In France the +75.4% market growth is mainly due to the abolition of the "millésime" that fixed at 1st July the model year reference. Traditionally, new registrations hit a low in June and reached a peak in July. This year, June is no longer the month that precedes the month of reference for the new models, and the level of new registration is consequently more in line with the other months.

2. In Italy the -15,7% of decrease is mainly explained by strikes in registration offices and in the road transport sector.

Looking at the half-year cumulative figures, increasing or stable results have been registered in most of the Western European countries with the exception of Germany, Denmark, and Portugal. The 11 per cent decrease in Germany results partly from: comparison with high levels in 1999, lack of new models, the shift of the demand from the new to the used cars market and from the fact that economic growth is mainly driven by exports rather than by domestic consumption.

In terms of market shares, Volkswagen Group is the clear market leader in the first half (with an 18.2% share), but PSA (Peugeot-Citroen) achieved a notably strong performance in the first half (12.8% share). Ford's first half figures are weak - and hindered by late model cycles - with share slipping to 10.3% from 11.5% last year.

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