New-vehicle sales in Western Europe fell 8 percent in May from the year-ago period, pulled down by weakness in four of the five biggest markets.
Germany, Italy, Spain and France declined, but sales in the United Kingdom rose 5.1 percent over a year earlier. With the May decline, sales in the 18-nation market for the year to date are off 3.8 percent from the year-ago period.
The decline hit all of the major volume automakers. No. 1 Volkswagen Group was off 9.6 percent; PSA Group, 3.3 percent; Renault, 1.1 percent; General Motors, 17.3 percent; Fiat Group, 22.6 percent; and Ford Group, 7.9 percent.
Among luxury makes, Mercedes-Benz, BMW and Volvo turned lower. But Jaguar was up 74.8 percent as demand continued strong for the X-Type, and Land Rover gained 18.9 percent.
Among Japanese nameplates, Toyota-Lexus sales surged 20.3 percent in the month, widening the company's year-to-date lead over rival Nissan to 122,000 units. Nissan was off 6.5 percent, while Mazda was up 6.1 percent and Honda, 5.7 percent.