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European car sales rise in February amid volume brand slump
[FRANKFURT] European new car registrations rose 2.1 per cent 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 per cent rise in sales in Italy, a 15 per cent increase in the Netherlands, and a 0.2 per cent gain in demand for cars in Spain.
Large markets including Germany, France and Britain saw sales fall 2.6 per cent, 2.9 per cent and 0.3 per cent respectively in what is traditionally a slow sales month.
Volkswagen's VW brand saw February sales fall 7 per cent, while Peugeot saw sales drop 3.7 per cent and Opel/Vauxhall recorded a fall of 1.2 per cent in deliveries.
Among the top gainers was Fiat, with an 8.3 per cent sales rise and Renault, which saw a 5.3 per cent increase in registrations.
Among the premium brands, Mercedes-Benz recorded a 3.4 per cent sales gain, outpacing rival Audi, which saw a 2.2 per cent rise, while rival BMW saw registrations fall by 0.5 per cent, ACEA figures showed.
While demand for passenger cars in the European Union alone increased only modestly by 2.2 per cent, the 1,078,503 registrations comes close to February 2008 levels, just before the economic crisis hit, ACEA said.