European car sales slide in January

The European carmakers' association says new passenger car sales in the region dropped by 4.6 percent in January, weighed down by big declines in Spain and Italy.

Despite the drop, the association said Friday that the 1.2 million cars sold last month in the European Union marked the second-best January since 2009. It compared with 1.25 million a year earlier.

German manufacturer Volkswagen registered a 6.5 percent decline in sales, but maintained its dominant 24-percent market share. Italian-American carmaker Fiat Chrysler Automobiles saw sales decline 15 percent.

French carmakers PSA and Renault limited their drops to 2 percent and 0.7 percent respectively. Luxury carmaker Daimler saw sales drop 1.3 percent while BMW slid by 2.7 percent.

Demand dropped off by 7.5 percent in Italy and 8 percent in Spain.