European car sales fall by 0.7 percent as Fiat, Renault and Peugeot lose out
BRUSSELS, Belgium – European car sales dropped by 0.7 percent to 15.2 million in 2005 with most European automakers reporting falling sales, the European Automobile Manufacturers Association said Monday.Italy’s Fiat SpA and French carmakers Renault SA and PSA Peugeot Citroen SA fared the worst. Fiat reported a 12 percent drop in sales compared to 2004, Renault was down 5.2 percent and the PSA group by 2.9 percent. General Motors Corp. – which makes Opel and Saab cars – fell 0.7 percent.Germany’s BMW Group and Volkswagen AG bucked the trend. BMW posted a 9.8 percent increase while Volkswagen – which sold the most cars at 2.94 million – also reported slightly stronger sales at 3.9 percent.Sales fell by 26 percent in Poland, by 6.9 percent in Greece and by 5 percent in Britain. New car sales increased by almost half in Europe’s poorest country, Latvia.