Home > Auto > News > European car sales climb in October, masking dismal outlook

(Bloomberg) -- European car sales jumped in October, although not enough to reverse a slump since the start of the year as demand weakens in key markets.

Registrations rose 8.6% to 1.21 million vehicles, the European Automobile Manufacturers Association said on Tuesday. The increase was due to a low comparison with a year earlier when sales suffered from new emissions tests.

The latest monthly figure takes registrations down 0.7% to 13.3 million vehicles since the start of the year, according to the group, putting 2019 on a path for a full-year decline.

Carmakers from Volkswagen AG to Daimler AG as well as parts suppliers like Continental AG have lowered their expectations in recent weeks on weakening demand in some regions and the threat of trade war tariffs. A shrinking of the Chinese market has also deepened the gloom, with October car sales marking the 16th decline in the past 17 months.

The U.K. was the only major European market to have registered a sales contraction in October as uncertainty stemming from Brexit continues to roil the market.

Modest growth in October in Europe might continue in the final two months of the year, but the market is still unlikely to fare better than 2018, according to LMC Automotive. The forecaster said no progress is expected next year due to economic headwinds.

The downward trend has put pressure on the region’s automakers to join forces to navigate an unprecedented industry shift toward electric and self-driving cars. French automaker PSA Group confirmed last month it’s in merger talks with Fiat Chrysler Automobiles NV.

To contact the reporters on this story: Christoph Rauwald in Frankfurt at crauwald@bloomberg.net;Richard Weiss in Frankfurt at rweiss5@bloomberg.net

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Anthony Palazzo at apalazzo@bloomberg.net, Tara Patel, Frank Connelly

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