There are fewer new cars on the roads of European Union countries, according to fresh figures from a prominent industry association. The European Automobile Manufacturers' Association has released a data set revealing that new passenger registrations fell by 1.7% on an annual basis, the sixth straight year a decline has been recorded. All told, just fewer than 11.9 million new cars were registered over the course of 2013.

In terms of volume, this makes last year the worst since the Association began compiling car registration data for the expanded EU in 2003.

Registrations picked up at the end of the year, however, with the month of December recording a rise of 13.3% year over year. This was the best showing for any month since December 2009.

In spite of the continued overall slump, not all carmakers are doing badly in Europe. Ford (NYSE:F), saw a 14% annual increase in retail sales last year. This boosted its retail market share by one percentage point, to 8.2%.

Fool contributor Eric Volkman has no position in Ford. The Motley Fool recommends and owns shares of Ford. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

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