European new car sales rebounds in fourth quarter, up 21.4% in December: ACEA

FILE PHOTO: Vauxhall cars are transported on a lorry in Luton, Britain March 6, 2017. REUTERS/Neil Hall

A recovery in European car sales continued for the fourth month in row, lifted by strong demand for both premium and volume cars and growth in all EU countries, European Auto industry association (ACEA) said on Thursday.

New car registrations rose 21.4% to 1,261,742 vehicles in the European Union and the European Free Trade Association (EFTA) countries in December, statistics by ACEA showed.

The increase was partially due to a low base of comparison with December 2018, when the introduction of anti-emission laws weighed on car registration, ACEA said.

The prospect of higher car taxes, pending to go into effect in 2020, spurred car sales in some EU countries such as the Netherlands and Sweden, where registration surged 113.9% and 109.3%, respectively, ACEA said.

Sales rose 19.5% in Germany and 27.7% in France while registrations in Britain rebounded after a drop last month, rising 3.4%, the data showed.

December registration for regional champion Volkswagen group was up 21.1%, while Renault rising 23.1%. Demand for premium cars also grew in December with Daimler increasing 19.5% and BMW 16.4%.

A robust fourth quarter helped full-year 2019 registration to an overall increase of 1.2% to 15.3 million units across the European Union, marking the sixth consecutive annual growth.

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