Brussels, Belgium – Following a marked decline in the second half of 2008 and the first half of 2009, new car registrations in Europe picked up in the second half of last year, largely due to the impact of fleet renewal programs in a number of major markets.

In total, 14,481,545 new cars were registered in 2009, which was 1.6 per cent less than in 2008, and 9.5 per cent less than in 2007. In December 2009, demand for new cars rose by 16.0 per cent compared with December 2008.

In Western Europe, registrations were up 19.3 per cent in December, to a total of 1,003,757 units. Compared with 2008, Switzerland was down 4.4 per cent; Germany down 4.6 per cent; Finland down 8.1 per cent; and Portugal down 17.9 per cent. In that month, registrations increased by 16.7 per cent in Italy; 25.1 per cent in Spain; 38.9 per cent in the U.K.; and 48.6 per cent in France.

In 2009 overall, only Austria, France and Germany posted growth compared to 2008, largely through scrapping incentives.

In the new EU Member States, December increases were found in the Czech Republic, up 43.8 per cent, and Slovenia, up 12.4 per cent. Elsewhere, the downturn prevailed for a total 16.5 per cent decrease in the region, with individual countries ranging from a decline of 3.9 per cent in Poland, to 79.3 per cent in Latvia. For all of 2009, only the Czech Republic and Slovakia recorded a significant increase. Overall, the region was down 26.6 per cent in 2009, with registrations of 848,627 new cars, compared with 1,156,169 units in 2008.

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