U.S. Markets open in 9 mins

Decline in German car sales accelerated in 2013: KBA

The logo of BMW is pictured during a media preview day at the Frankfurt Motor Show (IAA) September 10, 2013. REUTERS/Pawel Kopczynski

FRANKFURT (Reuters) - The decline in German car sales accelerated last year, falling below 3 million vehicles for the first time since 2010, reflecting troubles in Europe that have sent auto demand close to a two-decade low.

New car registrations in Germany fell 4.2 percent to 2.95 million last year, the German Federal Motor Transport Authority (KBA) said, after a decline of 2.9 percent in 2012.

Germany's premium carmakers BMW (BMW.DE), Mercedes-Benz (DAI.DE) and Audi (NSU.DE) each lost market share, suffering sales declines of 5.8 percent, 1.4 percent and 5.5 percent respectively.

In the premium segment, updates to Porsche's 911 and Boxster models in recent years helped the sports car manufacturer to register a 1.4 percent rise in registrations.

Land Rover (NSI:TATAMOTORS), which launched a new range of 4x4 vehicles, was up by 11.8 percent and Jaguar registrations jumped by 30.1 percent, KBA statistics showed.

German mass market brand Opel, owned by General Motors (GM), lost 2.9 percent market share last year while Volkswagen (VOW3.DE) sales fell by 4.6 percent in its home market.

Compact cars made up 25.3 percent of all new sales, helping Volkswagen to retain the crown as the biggest-selling brand in Germany with 21.8 percent of the new car market.

Imported volume brands fared worse than their German rivals, with Citroen (UG.PA) registrations down 20.6 percent, Chevrolet dropping 17.7 percent and Peugeot down 23.4 percent.

The gainers were South Korean value brands such as Hyundai <005380.KS>, which achieved a 0.7 percent increase, and Kia <000270.KS>, which boosted sales by 1.6 percent.

Japan's Mazda <7261.T> was a big winner with a 10.5 percent sales lift, while Volkswagen's Seat and Skoda brands also registered strong gains of 22.4 percent and 8.7 percent respectively.

The blow of the overall annual decline was softened by December's sales figures, with registrations up 5.4 percent on the same month last year, in line with a trend seen in other European countries.

(Reporting by Edward Taylor and Maria Sheahan; Editing by David Goodman)