European car sales jump 14 pct in February on extra selling day

European new car sales jumped
14 percent in February, industry data showed on Wednesday,
helped by an extra selling day, even allowing Volkswagen’s
core brand to swing back to growth despite its
diesel emissions scandal.

But the 4.4 percent increase at the Volkswagen (VW) brand
was dwarfed by double-digit gains at all other major carmakers,
including VW’s mass-market rivals Ford, Peugeot
and Opel/Vauxhall which surged 19 percent, 14.2 percent
and 18.7 percent respectively, European auto industry
association ACEA said.

Registrations rose to 1,092,825 million cars from 958,239 a
year earlier, data for the European Union (EU) and the European
Free Trade Association (EFTA) showed, marking the 30th straight
month of growth.

Two-month registrations were up 10 percent to 2,187 million
vehicles, according to ACEA.

Luxury nameplates BMW, Daimler’s Mercedes-Benz
and VW’s Audi fared equally well, posting growth of
14.7 percent, 22.4 percent and 17.1 percent respectively.

Momentum was evenly spread across the 28-nation EU, with
Greece and the Netherlands being the only countries that
incurred a sales decline while data for Malta was unavailable.

“Europe is still in a recovery phase,” Ian Fletcher, analyst
at market research firm IHS Automotive said on Tuesday before
ACEA had released its figures, citing improving economic growth,
pent-up demand in southern European economies and strong company
car demand.

(Reporting by Andreas Cremer; Editing by Maria Sheahan)

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