Nearly all major EU car markets posted sales growth last month - except the UK

Rebecca Smith
Demand for passenger cars was up by a fifth in Spain last month
Demand for passenger cars was up by a fifth in Spain last month (Source: Getty)

Demand for passenger cars in the European Union last month surged compared to January last year, with nearly all major EU car markets posting growth, except the UK.

Overall, new car registrations rose by 7.1 per cent according to the European Automobile Manufacturers Association (ACEA), "benefitting from a positive calendar effect".

Spain and Germany recorded the strongest gains, up 20.3 per cent and 11.6 per cent respectively, followed by Italy and France, rising 3.4 per cent and 2.5 per cent.

Read more: UK car sales just had their worst January since 2014

The UK dipped by 6.3 per cent though, with car sales declining for the tenth consecutive month. The Society for Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) said that demand for petrol and alternatively fuelled vehicles had risen, but that had failed to offset the decline in new diesel registrations, which was down by over a quarter.

The SMMT's chief executive Mike Hawes said earlier this month that the "ongoing and substantial" decline in new diesel car registrations was concerning as "the evidence indicates consumers and businesses are not switching into alternative technologies, but keeping their older cars running".

More widely, Europe's car market recorded a 6.8 per cent rise in January, with registrations for the month hitting 1.29m vehicles. Almost all car firms racked up gains too, led by Volkswagen.

The UK's car registrations over the past year:

(Source: ACEA)

The EU results over the past year:

(Source: ACEA)

Read more: Hit the brakes: UK car sales forecast to drop again in 2018

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