Auto sales in Europe fell last month compared with May 2007, but there was little change in position among the top three automakers there.
Volkswagen AG remained atop the European pack despite posting a year-over-year sales decline of 8.1 percent in May — to 269,476 vehicles. PSA Group came in second with sales of 175,292 vehicles, a decline of 7.9 percent. Ford Motor Co. sold 140,778 vehicles, a decline of 8.6 percent.
VW was Europe's most popular brand last month, followed by Ford, General Motors' Opel/Vauxhall and Renault. The only major automakers that posted sales increases for May 2008 were Nissan and Mazda.
Overall European sales were down 7.8 percent last month. There were 1.33 million vehicles registered in Europe in May. For the first five months of 2008, European sales are down 0.7 percent compared with the first five months of 2007.
In its last month as a Ford unit, the Jaguar brand posted one of the highest year-over-year sales increases — up 58.3 percent from May 2007. On June 2, Ford completed a deal to sell Jaguar and Land Rover to Tata Motors.
Vehicle registrations were off 6.2 percent in Germany, Europe's largest market, from May 2007. But they're still up 4.2 percent for the five months through May, compared with the same period last year. Registrations fell 17.6 percent in Italy, Europe's second-largest market.
Bulgaria posted a 65.3 percent increase in registrations last month compared with a year ago. Previously rapid sales growth in other eastern European markets seemed to slow. No other market posted double-digit monthly sales growth, and some, such as the Czech Republic, saw sales decline.