) -- Europe's continuing economic problems showed up in April auto sales, which slumped 7.7%. For the first four months of the year, sales are down 7.8%.


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reported Tuesday that its April sales in the 19 traditional European markets slumped 11.5% to 90,200 vehicles and its market shared dipped by 0.3 points to 7.7%. But Ford remains the second best-selling European brand. For the full year, Ford sales in the 19 markets were down 8.2% and market share was flat at 8.3%.

In the U.K., Ford's largest market in Europe, sales rose 4.3% to 24,400 vehicles and market share rose 0.5 points.

"The U.K. was a bright spot for Ford in April," said Roelant de Waard, vice president of marketing, sales and service for Ford of Europe. "(But) it was another difficult month for overall auto sales in Europe."

In Germany, Ford's second-largest market, sales slumped 8% to 20,100 and in Italy, Ford's fifth-largest markets, sales fell by 37% to 8,600 units. But in Russia, the third-largest market, sales rose 26% to 12,400. (Russia is not included among the 19 traditional European markets.)

-- Written by Ted Reed in Charlotte, N.C.

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