Jaguar and Land Rover saw their recent good sales run come to a halt as the European car market went into reverse again last month.
Registrations in the 23 European Union and three EFTA countries fell by 4.1 per cent to 1,489,561, according to figures from Brussels-based automotive industry body Acea yesterday.
Acea said the decline was partly due to the fact that most countries had one or two fewer working days in June.
But four of the five main markets suffered declines with Italy down a hefty 12.6 per cent, Germany - the biggest European market - down 4.6 per cent, the UK down 3.6 per cent and Spain 3.5 per cent adrift.
The fall in Italy was exaggerated by comparison with June 2005 when registrations soared following a strike by car transporter drivers.
Jaguar and Land Rover, both units of Ford's Premier Automotive Group of luxury European brands, will be hoping that their sales have been hit by nothing more serious than a summer lull.
In recent months Jaguar has been clawing back some of its lost ground following the successful introduction of the new XK sports car which is built at Castle Bromwich.
June sales slumped 23.2 per cent to 4,049, leaving the marque 10.2 per cent down at 22,918 at the half-year stage.
The XK and the diesel-engined version of the XJ saloon are understood to be selling well, with Jaguar's older models, the S-Type and the X-Type, lagging.
Land Rover was 6.9 per cent adrift with 7,301 registrations in June, but the impact of the new Discovery 3 and Range Rover Sport models helped the company to stay ahead of the market over the first six months with sales for the period 11.2 per cent up at 44,889.
Numbers are down at this stage of the year following the run-out of the old Freelander - a persistent best-seller for Land Rover - in advance of the launch of the updated version.
Jaguar executives must also be looking over their shoulders at close rival Lexus, Toyota's luxury brand, which shows signs of overtaking them.
Lexus registrations almost doubled to 21,831 in the first half of the year and were 68 per cent up at 3,838 in June.
BMW-owned Mini, which is predicting a 20 per cent increase in volumes at its Oxford factory following a £100 million revamp, slipped 7.8 per cent to 11,952 in June and by 9.8 per cent to 61,284 year to date.
Peugeot, which is under attack by unions for its decision to close its UK plant at Ryton, Coventry, was 3.6 per cent down at 111,410 in June and 2.8 per cent off at 605,441at the half-year point.
Fiat group beat the market downturn in June, with sales rising by more than ten per cent to 106,988 thanks to the success of a range of new models, especially the Grande Punto.
DaimlerChrysler was the only other European manufacturer to show a rise - however small - at 1.2 per cent.
Mercedes rose 2.7 per cent to 67,290, but its Smart brand fell 17.6 per cent to 11,050. Volkswagen, which has the biggest market share in Europe at 19.4 per cent, fell 2.1 per cent to 289,566.
Its Skoda brand suffered the worst, down 6.4 per cent at 39,223.