Weighed down by weakness in Germany and Italy, new-vehicle sales in Western Europe eased 1.3 percent in January to 1.28 million units.
Unusually, sales in Italy, off 8.8 percent from a year earlier to a reported 248,300 units, outpaced Germany in the month. Germany, Europe’s largest market, slipped 0.1 percent to 242,000 units.
Among automakers, No. 1 Volkswagen Group was off 5.8 percent from a year earlier. But sales at No. 2 PSA Group continued higher in the month, rising 9.3 percent from January 2001, while No. 3 Ford Motor Co. posted a 2.6 percent gain despite a 12.2 percent decline in Volvo sales.