New passenger auto sales in Europe rose 8 percent in February, the sixth consecutive monthly gain, as many countries like Italy, Portugal and Spain are making steps to a gradual economic recovery, the Association of European Carmakers (ACEA) said on Tuesday.
However, new car sales in February, totaling 861,058 units registered marked the second lowest result to date for a month of February since the Association of European Carmakers began the series in 2003 with the enlarged EU.
Two-month sales jumped 6.3 percent to 1.86 million vehicles.
“In February, France was the only major market to face a downturn,” the association said in a statement. “All other significant markets contributed positively.”
Demand for new vehicles was up 5.7 percent in Germany, 6.0 percent in Italy, 6.1 percent in the United Kingdom, and 13.1 percent in Spain. In France, new car sales fell 0.5 percent in February.
Volkwagen Ag., Europe’s largest carmaker by sales volume – sold 211,979 new cars in February – up 8.0 percent compared to February 2013; followed by PSA Peugeot Citroen with 104,082 units – up 3.6 percent compared to the same period of 2013.
Toyota, the largest carmaker in the world sold 37,677 new vehicles (36,415 Toyota brand vehicles and 1,262 Lexus units) up 16.2 percent compared to February 2013.
BMW, the largest premium carmaker in the world sold 46,605 new cars, while rival Daimler Af, the maker of Mercedes-Benz vehicles sold 42,364 units.
The announcement comes after the European Commission said last week that the euro area will expand 1.2 percent in 2014.
“The European market can further recover in the coming months with unemployment slightly decreasing, an aging fleet that needs to be replaced and confidence coming back.” Sascha Gommel, a Frankfurt-based automotive analyst at Commerzbank AG said.