European auto stocks were mixed Thursday after data from the European Automobile Manufacturers Association showed new vehicle registrations posting their first monthly fall for more than three years.
Volkswagen (VLKAY) , Peugeot (PEUGF) and Renault (RNSDF) were hit the hardest, with both registrations and market share figures falling during the month, while a contraction in German and French auto markets was the primary driver behind the decline of Continent-wide registrations
Volkswagen stock was down by around 0.4% in early trading, to €117.40 ($128.20), while Peugeot and Renault gained 0.1% and 0.2% respectively, to trade at €13.90 and €73.90. The sector as a whole rose on Thursday after falling from recent peaks during the Wednesday session.
Total car registrations fell by to 1.1 million units during October, the first monthly decline since September 2013, with French volumes down -4% and German registrations dropping by -5.6%. For the first ten months of the year, however, registrations grew by 7.2%.
VW Group saw its market share fall by 40 basis points to 24.7% during the recent month. Registrations for group cars were down 1.7% overall, driven by a 7.9% decline in registrations of Volkswagen brand vehicles. The Premium Porsche brand also saw registrations drop, this time by 11.9%.
Peugeot experienced a 7.2% fall in the number of new vehicles registered, with all brands under the group seeing a decline, although Citroen and DS cars led the fall. The group's market share was down by 80 basis points to 9.9%.
Renault saw registrations fall by 1.8% for the month, with both Renault and Dacia brands experiencing a contraction, while its market share fell by 20 basis points to 9.5%.
Volkswagen is still grappling with the fallout from an emissions scandal that has engulfed the brand ever since September 2015.
It agreed with U.S. authorities in June that it will pay $14.7 billion to compensate customers and settle with government agencies after devices designed to cheat emissions tests were found in its vehicles.
But in November reports emerged suggesting that the German auto firm is now under investigation again in the U.S., this time over similar 'cheat' devices that were found in cars made under its premium Audi brand.
The scandal has seen its stock price more than halve in value over the last 14 months and badly dented the brand's image. The shares are down more than 10% for the 2016 year-to-date.
That said, the automotive giant, which is Europe's largest, reported a 21% beat against the consensus for third-quarter adjusted operating profit and told investors that full-year operating profit growth will be at the higher end of the previously forecast range.
Peugeot and Renault stocks are down 14% and 20% for the year-to-date after being hampered by multiple economic concerns, which have dampened the outlook for sales in the quarters ahead.