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Carmakers in crisis: BMW sales plunge; Peugeot owner raises funds

Little sign of relief Monday (April 6) for Europe's carmakers.

BMW says group sales plunged in the first quarter.

They were down by just over a fifth as many of it outlets closed.

The German firm says 2020 had started with gains.

But sales dropped in China from February, and in other key markets from the following month.

About 80% of its dealerships in Europe are currently shut due to lockdowns, and about 70% in the U.S.

Meanwhile Peugeot-parent PSA says it has secured extra finance to help it endure the crisis.

The French firm says it's secured about 3.3 billion dollars in new loans.

It didn't say which banks were involved, or if there was any state support.

Last month the French government told PSA and rival Renault they were entitled to help including loan guarantees and leeway on bills.

Investors welcomed Monday's news, with PSA shares up 6.5% by late morning.

It looks like a long road to recovery for the sector though.

New figures showed UK new car registrations down 40% on the year in March.

They were the weakest numbers for the month in over 20 years.

An industry body predicts sales for the full year will be down 25% on 2019.