FRANKFURT Feb 18 European car sales rose 5.2
percent to 967.778 vehicles in January, lifted by demand for
compact cars in all major markets and even in former crisis
countries like Portugal, Ireland, Italy and Greece, industry
data showed on Tuesday.
Cars sold under the Volkswagen, Peugeot
and Renault brands saw January sales in the
European Union and European Free Trade Association trading bloc
rise 7.6 percent, 8.8 percent and 3.8 percent, respectively,
according to data from the Association of European Carmakers
In Italy, the region's fourth-biggest market, sales grew 3.2
percent, while sales in Ireland rose 32.8 percent compared with
the same month a year earlier.
Greece posted a 15.4 percent rise, while Portugal, also a
victim of the euro zone's debt crisis, saw 31.8 percent growth
in car registrations in January.
Sales at Renault Group jumped 13 percent, boosted by a 38.1
percent surge in registrations at its no-frills Dacia brand.
Germany's Volkswagen Group, Europe's No. 1 by volume which
also owns Seat, Bentley and Lamborghini, posted an 8.2 percent
rise in sales, helped by a 10.3 percent rise in registrations at
its value brand Skoda and an 8.5 percent gain at its premium
Toyota branded vehicles were up 15.2 percent while
rival General Motors saw sales of its Opel and Vauxhall
branded vehicles slide 7.8 percent even as sales of Chevrolet
vehicles rose 8.9 percent. Ford saw new passenger car
registrations rise 8.8 percent during the period.
January marked the fifth consecutive month of growth in the
European Union. All the major markets posted growth, with
Britain and Spain both up 7.6 percent, Germany sales rising 7.2
percent, while Italy and France grew 3.2 percent and 0.5