FRANKFURT European car sales fell 6.8 percent in April due to a fall in demand for Volkswagen-branded (VOWG_p.DE) cars, fewer trading days during Easter, and thanks to a double-digit sales drop in Britain, industry figures published on Tuesday showed.
Registrations dropped to 1.23 million cars last month in the European Union and European Free Trade Association (EFTA) countries, Brussels-based industry body ACEA said, down from 1.32 million a year earlier.
The decline in April registrations, the first monthly drop this year, limited the four-month increase to 4.5 percent to 5.49 million cars, ACEA said.
This year Easter was in April, leading to more depressed sales figures when compared with a year earlier, ACEA said.
Registrations of VW, the biggest selling car brand in Europe, fell by 14 percent in April, while Renault (RENA.PA), the next best selling brand, saw sales decline 3.3 percent, statistics showed. Sales at Vauxhall and Opel fell 13.1 percent.
Nearly every auto brand posted falling sales, with the exception of Toyota (7203.T), which saw sales rise by 5.4 percent, and Kia, which saw sales increase by 8.1 percent.
The main reason European sales fell is because the region's two largest markets, Germany and the United Kingdom, saw registrations drop 8 percent and 19.8 percent respectively, ACEA figures showed.
Among the large markets, only Spain saw sales rise, posting a 1.1 percent gain, while deliveries in France and Italy fell by 6 percent and 4.6 percent respectively, statistics based on national registration figures published earlier this month showed.
In the European Union sales fell 6.6 percent, ACEA said.
(Reporting by Edward Taylor, editing by David Evans)