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Overall new car sales in Europe were down 2.8 percent in November, following a 2.6 percent slump in October, with Italy the only major market showing improvement.

Aggressive price cutting and new model introductions seem to have had little effect on consumers. French automaker Renault was hard hit, with sales down 15.3 percent, despite the flashy launch of its Clio III (European Car of the Year, pictured at right). Sales of Ghosn-partner Nissan were down 30 percent, hurt by its reliance on the weak British market.
 
The best performers were Kia Motors, up 18.3 percent and up 50 percent for the year, and Suzuki, up 18.7 percent.

Price wars, a strong euro, and high materials prices are putting the squeeze on automakers in Europe. Cost cutting and capacity reduction through more job cuts are probably the inevitable result.


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