New Car Sales Up 13.8% In Western Europe Last Month

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A total of 1,007,994 new vehicles were delivered in Western European markets in February, up nearly 14 percent over the previous year.

According to data released by LMC, the biggest Germany remains Europe's biggest market, with 250,302 new cars were sold last month, up 12.1 percent compared to last February, followed by Italy, which marked its 21st consecutive month of growth, with 172,241 vehicles, 27.3 percent.

France followed closely as sales rose by 13.0 percent to 166,739 units, with Spain coming in fourth at 97,650 vehicles delivered last month, a 12.6 percent increase. In the United Kingdom, automakers sold 83,395 new cars, up 8.4 percent. Many smaller markets turned in good sales performances, like Ireland (+37.1%), Luxembourg (+ 29.6%), Portugal (+26.0%), Denmark (+22.2% ) and Finland (+20.9%).

The only two markets where new car sales plunged in February were the Netherlands at -15.1 percent, and Greece at -9.3 percent.

"The market is coming back from a long downturn, underlying demand being driven up by improving economic conditions. However, the overall economic picture in the region carries some downside risks – both in relation to the global economy and developments within the region – and that leads us to exercise a little caution on the full year outlook", said Jonathon Poskitt, LMC analyst.

The full-year forecast of Western European car sales indicate a total of 13.88 million vehicles, up 5.3 percent compared to last year, when 13.19 million units were delivered. If the forecast turns out to be accurate, then 2016 would mark the third consecutive year of growth across markets in Western Europe.