PARIS: New car registrations—a key indicator of economic health—in the European Union rose in February, industry data showed, but still remained close to a historic low.
The European Automobile Manufacturers’ Association (ACEA) said that demand for cars in the 27 EU countries it surveys (Malta is not included) rose by 8 percent, the sixth consecutive gain. However, the overall total of cars registered (861,058) was the second-lowest result for February since ACEA started collected EU-wide data in 2003.
The car sector in countries still recovering from the eurozone crisis generally fared better than others, with Spain showing a 17.8-percent rise in new registrations and Italy up 8.6 percent.
Eurozone powerhouse Germany reported a 4.3-percent rise but Europe’s second-largest economy France was the only major nation to experience a decline, with new registrations down 1.4 percent on the month.
Europe’s biggest carmaker Volkswagen showed an 8-percent gain but Asian manufacturers were the main drivers of demand.
Toyota registrations were up 16.2 percent, Suzuki up 33.1 percent and Mitsubishi up 25.3 percent.