Sales for January to August show passenger car registrations in Western Europe fell by 4.3% from 10,298,970 units to 9,859,421.
The European Automobile Manufacturers Association (ACEA) which produced the figures also compared sales for July and August. It said July showed signs of a recover while August, which is traditionally a weak month, ended with a clear drop.
'This is partly explained by the dramatic floods that have hit numerous regions in the EU,' ACEA said. 'The case of Germany, with an increase of 1.9% in July and a drop of 3.3% in August, seems emblematic.'
It added: 'Cumulative figures for the first eight months of the year show a decrease of 4.3%, which is in line with most forecasts and the current economic environment.
'With regard to national situations, five countries did consistently show positive figures during the last two months and year-to-date: Denmark (+14.4% year-to-date), the United Kingdom (+7.3%), Finland (+6.6%), Luxembourg (+2%) and Sweden (+1.6%).'
ACEA said all other countries suffered falls in new car sales during the January to August period. The falls ranged from –2.4% in Belgium to -12% in Italy, which, it said, is benefiting from by government incentives that encourage motorists out of older cars and into newer ones.