Europe: March sales show the recovery is stepping up image

In Western Europe, auto sales last month jumped 10.7 percent thanks to a regional recovery that was most obvious in France, according to the most recent industry figures.

New car registrations in March surged to 1.56 million units – compared to the year-ago period of 1.41 million cars – reveals data and estimates coming from consulting firm LMC Automotive. The continent’s seasonally adjusted annual selling rate was raised from 12.91 million vehicles in February to 13.15 million autos last month. “We’re finally seeing a strong rebound in the market after years of underperformance,” commented LMC analyst Jonathon Poskitt. Europe’s five largest auto markets all recorded solid sales increases, with the growth buoyed by “backdrop of improving consumer confidence” across the continent, added the analyst. The data was compiled as an aggregated figure from already published results and forecasts for smaller countries and the regional growth was supported by the long-awaited return to growth in France, with deliveries there jumping 9.3 percent, even a tad higher than in Germany – the continent’s largest market.

Spain, Italy and Portugal have also brought their own share of contribution to the upbeat sales figures, continuing their pace for double-digit monthly sales increases as they started to finally recover from the collapse brought by the latest financial recession. Meanwhile, one of the best performers of the continent, Great Britain, now the continent’s second largest auto market, kept on posting strong results. According to LMC figures, based on the country’s published registrations for the month, the annualized selling rate in the UK also soared 2.69 million units last month – keeping it in front of third placed France – which reached a 1.98 million SAAR.

Via Reuters