June 18 - European car sales last month plunged to the lowest level in two decades for May, further eroding manufacturers' hopes for a recovery this year. Sonia Legg reports.
1.04 million is today's daily digit - the number of new car registrations in the European Union. It's a drop of nearly 6% and the lowest May level for more than two decades. Germany, France and Italy suffered near double-digit declines - they account for around half all sales in the EU's 27 countries. The figures from the Association of European Carmakers will dent manufacturer's hopes of a recovery this year. Just over 5 million vehicles were sold in the first five months - a fall of 6.8 percent. Even the German market which resisted much of last year's slump shrank nearly 9 percent. Britain's was the one exception - it posted growth of 11 percent in May. Worst performing companies in terms of sales were France's Peugeot at 13 percent and GM at 11 percent. Volkswagen - Europe's No. 1, only slid 2.8 percent.