(MENAFN - AFP) European auto sales fell five percent in August to around 654,000 vehicles, erasing a five-percent gain in July, the European Automobile Manufacturers' Association (ACEA) said Tuesday.
Dashing hopes of a nascent recovery for the sector, new car registrations across the European Union -- with the exception of Malta, for which data were unavailable -- came in at 653,872 last month, the ACEA said.
"Downturn prevailed across significant markets," it said in a statement.
Britain's was the only major market to expand, registering 10.9 percent growth in August against the same month the year before.
The French market contracted by 10.5 percent against August 2012, the Italian by 6.6 percent and the German by 5.5 percent.
French carmaker PSA Peugeot Citroen was particularly hard-hit, with a 17.3-percent drop in August registrations across Europe.
German giant Volkswagen saw an 11.2-percent drop, and Nissan, Toyota, Hyundai, Fiat and Ford also saw declines.
But high-end German carmakers BMW and Daimler saw gains in August registrations of 9.8 percent and 5.8 percent, respectively. France's Renault and the United States' General Motors also saw increases thanks to their budget models.
Most carmakers and analysts agree the auto market has already hit bottom, and the forecast is for a decline in sales of just five percent this year despite a first-half drop of nearly seven percent.
Companies are predicting zero or slightly positive growth for 2014.