FILE PHOTO: Cars travelling from Germany to Switzerland line up in front of a checkpoint after the re-opening of the borders, amid the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak, in Weil am Rhein, Germany June 15, 2020. REUTERS/Arnd Wiegmann

BERLIN (Reuters) – European car registrations dropped in July and August but not as steeply as in previous months, industry data showed on Thursday, pointing to a slow recovery in Europe’s auto sector that was hit hard by the coronavirus crisis.

In July, new car registrations dropped by 3.7% year-on-year to 1,281,740 vehicles in the European Union, Britain and the European Free Trade Association (EFTA) countries, statistics from the European Automobile Manufacturers’ Association (ACEA) showed.

Sales fell by 17.6% in August to 884,394 vehicles, when all countries in the region, except Cyprus, recorded losses compared to the previous year. Registrations in Germany and France fell sharply while they edged down in Italy, the data showed.

That came after bigger declines in sales of 24.1% in June and 56.8% in May.

Volkswagen Group’s VOWG_p.DE sales decreased by 24.2% in August, while Renault RENA.PA and PSA Group PEUP.PA reported drops of 22.8% and 19%, respectively.

Luxury automaker BMW BMWG.DE posted a 6.3% rise in registrations while rival Daimler’s DAIGn.DE sales declined by 17.4%.

In the first eight months of the year, sales dropped by around a third as the coronavirus lockdown forced carmakers to close showrooms across Europe.

Reporting by Riham Alkousaa; Editing by Michelle Adair

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