European new-car registrations fell for the 12th consecutive month in April, with the total down 12.3 percent from April 2008. Total registrations last month were 1,251,862 units.
Volkswagen AG remained the top seller, with 284,607 units, a 4.2 percent decline from last year. The Volkswagen brand was virtually flat with a 0.2 percent dip, but Audi fell 10.3 percent.
Of the top six companies, only fourth-ranked Fiat posted an increase in April. Fiat Group sales rose 4.7 percent to 121,671 units. The Fiat brand was up 5.4 percent.
Others in the top six were PSA Group, down 14.7 percent at 156,726 units; Ford Motor Co., down 6.3 percent at 125,033 units; General Motors, down 13.1 percent at 117,921 units; and Renault, down 14.0 percent at 110,148 units.
The only automaker besides Fiat to increase registrations was Hyundai, which was up 9.7 percent at 27,454 units.
Luxury rivals BMW Group and Daimler AG posted large percent- age drops. BMW Group was down 31.2 percent, and Daimler's registrations fell 26.3 percent.
In western Europe, registrations fell 11.6 percent in April. But sales in Europe's largest market, Germany, rose 19.4 percent. ACEA, the European auto manufacturers association, attributed the increase and a similar 12.8 percent gain in Austria to vehicle-scrappage incentives.
Other markets with such incentives, such as France and Italy, posted less severe decreases in April than markets without scrappage programs. For instance, France was down by 7.1 percent, but registrations in the United Kingdom, which will launch a scrappage program this month, fell 24.0 percent.