EU Car Sales Slide In April

BRUSSELS (AP) -- European Union sales of new cars slid by 7.4 percent in April from a year ago, the first fall in 10 months, as government cash-for-clunkers programs faded out, the European car manufacturers' association ACEA said Monday.

Sales in Europe's biggest market, Germany, were down by 25.5 percent and Italy fell 15.7 percent. Along with lower sales in many eastern European states, the declines outweighed higher sales in France, Britain, Belgium and Spain.

Some 1.134 million cars were sold across the 27-nation bloc last month. ACEA said the economic situation "remains difficult" for car sellers as government support programs end.

Volkswagen AG, the region's biggest seller, saw sales drop 7.7 percent. Ford Motor Corp. was down 13 percent, while sales for Fiat -- the Italian maker of small cars that benefited from state cash handouts for more fuel efficient vehicles -- fell the most at 27.3 percent.

General Motors Corp. was also down 19.1 percent.

PSA Peugeot Citroen sales rose 1.3 percent, Renault SA climbed 8.7 percent and BMW was up 13.1 percent.

Sales of Toyota Motor Corp. cars were down 20.7 percent to 44,559 units after the company announced a series of embarrassing safety recalls.

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