European new car sales rose 6.3 percent in September as government incentive schemes boosted sales, but showed a 6.6 percent decline for the first three quarters, carmakers’ association ACEA said on Thursday.

The Western European car market rose 9.6 percent in September, the biggest jump since 1999, ACEA said but it added that September registrations, in absolute terms, were below levels seen since 2002.

A total of 1,388,136 new cars were registered in September, across Europe, which includes the 27 EU member states and the EFTA countries, and excludes Cyprus and Malta, ACEA said.

“The September results were boosted in markets with government incentives to support fleet renewal in place, and especially in those countries where these schemes come to an end soon,” ACEA said in a statement.

Governments across Europe have launched schemes to support crisis-hit carmakers, paying motorists cash bonuses to trade in old cars for newer models.

The German market posted the biggest September gain, up 21 percent, while “Spain also posted a marked double digit growth — up 18 percent — in light of the country’s incentive scheme nearing its end, and after sixteen months of severe downturn,” ACEA said. Spain also benefitted from a comparison with a very weak September 2008.

German car association VDA said earlier in October that fears that demand would plunge after the country’s scrapping scheme ended had been overblown.

New EU member states fared worse in September, with a 36.4 percent drop across the region, and only Poland – up 7.9 percent – and the Czech Republic – up 0.5 percent – posting growth.


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