Europe's new car sales dropped by 10.2% in March, and by 9.8% year-to-date compared to 2012, despite positive data in the UK, according to Jato Dynamics.
Germany, which is historically the one of most resilient of the European markets, shows the largest fall in new car sales of the group, down 17.1% on March 2012 and down 12.9% on the quarter.
Local economists are reporting "no growth during the first quarter in Germany", which has led to consumers being more cautious than normal during this period. They are however, expecting to see signs of improvement by mid-year.
Great Britain remained the strongest performer of the key European markets in 2013, with new car sales for the quarter up by more than 40,000 units compared to the same period in 2012.
The quarter has been boosted by an increase in private new car sales and the bi-annual registration plate change that shapes the market in March and September.