In 2012, demand for new passenger cars reached the lowest level recorded since 1995, totaling 12,053,904 units. The resulting 8.2% contraction of the EU market (year-on-year) is the most important experienced since the 16.9% downturn in 1993, according to the European Automobile Manufacturers Association (ACEA).
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In December 2012, new car registrations declined by a sharp 16.3% in the EU, continuing a downward trend commenced fifteen months ago. The decline is the steepest recorded in a month of December since 2008. In December 2012, there were on average two fewer working days in the region than in the same month in 2011.
In December 2012, most of the major markets recorded a double-digit downturn ranging from -14.6% in France to -16.4% in Germany, -22.5% in Italy and -23.0% in Spain. The UK was the only significant market to post growth (+3.7%). Overall, a total of 799,407 new cars were registered in the EU.
From January to December 2012, results were diverse across markets. While the UK expanded (+5.3%) and the German somewhat contained the decline (-2.9%), Spain (-13.4%), France (-13.9%) and Italy (-19.9%) faced a more severe downturn, leading to the 8.2% contraction of the EU market.