FRANKFURT, March 16 European new car
registrations rose 2.1 percent in February, even as large
markets like Germany and volume brands like VW, Opel, Vauxhall
and Peugeot posted lower sales, the Association of European
Carmakers (ACEA) said on Thursday.
Car sales in the European Union and the countries of the
European Free Trade Association reached 1,114,443 vehicles last
month thanks to 6.2 percent rise in sales in Italy, a 15 percent
increase in the Netherlands, and a 0.2 percent gain in demand
for cars in Spain.
Large markets including Germany, France and Britain saw
sales fall 2.6 percent, 2.9 percent and 0.3 percent respectively
in what is traditionally a slow sales month.
Volkswagen's VW brand saw February sales fall 7
percent, while Peugeot saw sales drop 3.7 percent and
Opel/Vauxhall recorded a fall of 1.2 percent in
Among the top gainers was Fiat, with an 8.3
percent sales rise and Renault, which saw a 5.3
percent increase in registrations.
Among the premium brands, Mercedes-Benz recorded
a 3.4 percent sales gain, outpacing rival Audi, which
saw a 2.2 percent rise, while rival BMW saw
registrations fall by 0.5 percent, ACEA figures showed.
While demand for passenger cars in the European Union alone
increased only modestly by 2.2 percent, the 1,078,503
registrations comes close to February 2008 levels, just before
the economic crisis hit, ACEA said.
(Reporting by Edward Taylor; Editing by Maria Sheahan)