Sales of new cars across Europe declined 9 per cent year-on-year in March, according to the European Automobile Manufacturers' Association.
However, Germany bucked the trend, with a year-on-year increase in sales of 39.9 per cent, aided by the country’s successful scrappage scheme.
In the UK, where there is pressure to introduce a similar system, sales plunged by 30.5 per cent compared to this time last year. In Spain there was similar bad news, with sales sinking 38.7 per cent.
March was the 11th month in a row that Europe has seen a downward trend in sales, but analysts still say the figures were slightly better than expected.
Gordon Brown is expected to decide this week whether he will introduce a £2000 old-car scrappage incentive.