European car sales fell 3.9 per cent in March compared to the same month last year, marking the seventh-straight monthly drop, an industry body said Wednesday.

"Demand decreased in all major EU markets," the European Automobile Manufacturers Association said, with the biggest falls in Italy, down 9.6 per cent, Spain 4.3 per cent, Britain 3.4 per cent and France 2.3 per cent.

Germany's Volkswagen Group, which is still trying to move past the "dieselgate" emissions scandal, saw sales decrease 1.1 per cent but it remained Europe's top carmaker.

French carmaker PSA (Peugeot, Citroen and Opel), the second ranked by market share, saw sales dip 1.4 per cent in March compared to 2018.

By volume, auto sales in March fell to 1.72 million from 1.79 million a year earlier.

For the three months to March, auto sales were down 3.3 per cent compared with first quarter 2018.

The association had warned in February - when total sales fell 1.0 per cent - that manufacturers could expect the car market to remain "stable at best" in 2019, forecasting growth of "less than 1 per cent".


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