German new-car sales fell for the fifth consecutive month in April after the withdrawal of the country's scrappage scheme caused a slump in demand.
April 2010's figures showed a 32 per cent fall in demand compared to April 2009, and a 10.2 per cent decline compared to pre-scrappage figures for April 2008.
Germany's VDIK President, Volker Lange, remained upbeat despite April's figures. He said: "Initial estimates show new orders for our members are on the same level as in April 2008, which I see as the first move toward an automotive springtime in Germany."
Italy's new-car sales fell by nearly 16 per cent to hit a 14-year low in April, the first month since its scrappage scheme ended.
Market leader Fiat suffered a crash of 26 per cent from March and expects the Italian market to shrink by around 30 per cent for the period April to December 2010.
Elsewhere in Europe, Spain's scrappage scheme caused a surge in new-car demand last month, while France's reduced scrappage offering saw a much slower growth in demand of just 1.6 per cent.
The UK's first post-scrappage figures will be announced later this week.