German car sales fall 3.5 pct in March to 348,000 cars - source

BERLIN, April 4 (Reuters) - German new car sales fell 3.5 percent last month from year-earlier levels to about 348,000 vehicles because of two fewer selling days, an auto industry source said.

Registrations of passenger cars in Europe’s largest auto market still rose 4 percent in the January-to-March period to about 879,000 vehicles, making it the strongest first quarter since 2000, the source said.

Sales of diesel-powered vehicles plunged about 20 percent in the first three months of 2018 and held a share of about 39 percent of Germany’s car market, the source said.

Germany’s KBA automotive watchdog is expected to release official vehicle registration data later on Wednesday.

Reporting by Andreas Cremer Editing by Maria Sheahan