Car sales in the EU fell to a historic low in January, according to latest data released on Thursday.

EU passenger car registrations dropped to 682,596 units last month, marking a 6% annual decline from 726,491 in January 2021, the European Automobile Manufacturers Association (ACEA) said in a statement.

Car sales in the EU have contracted for seven consecutive months since July 2021, the association said.

However, some countries in Central Europe posted gains in January, with the strongest growth of 72.6% and 55.5% recorded in Slovakia and Romania, respectively.

Among major EU markets, Italy and France saw hefty losses of 19.7% and 18.6%, respectively.

The ongoing global semiconductor shortage is still negatively affecting car sales across the region, according to the ACEA.

In a statement last week, the association said it “forecasts that passenger car registrations in the EU will return to growth this year, rising by 7.9% to reach 10.5 million units.”

However, it said the figure “would still be almost 20% below the pre-pandemic sales levels of 2019.”

Copyright 2022 Anadolu Agency. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.