Total sales for 2009 were down 1.6 per cent on 2008, figures from the European Automobile Manufacturers Association (ACEA) showed.
Sales in the UK were down 6.4 per cent for the year while in December they soared by 39 per cent compared with a year earlier.
A total of 14.5m cars were sold across 28 European countries in 2009.
The UK’s scrappage scheme began in May 2009 and accounts for one in five new car registrations since then according to manufacturers. It is expected to end in February.
Ivan Hodac, secretary general of the EAMA said: "The scrappage schemes mainly benefited the volume manufacturers like Volkswagen, Renault and Fiat. "2010 will be extremely difficult for these companies."