Top of the list was Spain, suffering a drop of 40% on the same month last year. Close behind came Italy, reporting an 18.9% drop. France felt less of a sting, however a 7.3% drop is still significant and includes larger relative slumps in sales of home-grown manufacturers such as Peugeot (down 8.6%) and Renault (down 12.6%). Belgium also reported a 6.8% decrease in sales.
Meanwhile over in the US, all of the 'big 3' manufacturers are feeling the pinch. Ford reported drops of close to 35% compared with the same period last year, with GM close behind on 32% and Chrysler sales 31% down. This comes despite desperate attempts from the US auto industry to raise sales by offering tempting 0% finance packages, even in these times when credit is getting harder to come by.
UK figures for October have not yet been fully released, but are expected to follow the pattern seen in September, when new car registrations fell by 21% to a slim 330,295 units.
'Government action is now needed to restore consumer confidence and boost demand in the real economy,' said Paul Everitt, chief executive of the British Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders. Most analysts predict that 2009 spells an even tougher year for motor manufacturers as the global economy continues to grind to a halt.