By David Sachs

Registrations of new cars in the European Union slipped further than they have in more than a year in March, upset by the Easter holiday and in line with a trend of softening demand.

The bloc's new-car registrations, which mirror sales, fell 5.2% on year--the largest monthly drop since November 2022, when sales dipped 6.1%, according to the European Automobile Manufacturers' Association.

The industry group, known as ACEA, said Thursday that the Easter holiday hurt sales, though analysts expect a down year for the auto industry amid high borrowing rates for consumers.

That trend was reflected in fewer EU registrations for the bloc's major carmakers. Germany's Volkswagen Group's sales slipped 9% in March compared with a year prior, while registrations for fellow mass-market manufacturer Stellantis fell 13%, ACEA said. French carmaker Renault Group had 2.1% fewer sales.

Luxury German carmakers Mercedes-Benz Group and BMW Group--who lean on more profitable luxury models--posted drops of 1.7% and 6.7%, respectively.

Registrations fell in each of the EU's largest economies, led by Germany with a 6.2% decrease, ACEA said.

Fully-electric vehicle registrations slipped 11%, reflecting a global trend. The emissions-free vehicles also ceded some market share to other types of cars, comprising 13% of the bloc's total registrations compared with 14% in the previous March.

Write to David Sachs at

(END) Dow Jones Newswires

04-18-24 0214ET