Brussels, Belgium – Registrations of new passenger cars in Europe dropped 18.3 per cent in February 2009 when compared with February 2008, for a total of 968,159 vehicles. The downturn was sharper in the new EU Member States, with sales dropping 30.3 per cent, compared with a 17.3 per cent drop in Western Europe overall, held up by an improved market in Germany.

Sales in Western Europe totalled 902,037 new passenger cars, with Germany registering a growth of 21.5 per cent, carried by strong demand following a recent motor vehicle tax reform and scrapping bonus introduced by the government. Luxembourg was up 0.3 per cent, but all other countries faced a downturn, varying from 13.2 per cent in France, to a drop of 83.6 per cent in Iceland. Other major markets were the U.K., down 21.9 per cent; Italy, down 24.4 per cent; and Spain, down 48.8 per cent.

In the new EU Member States, Poland registered the most cars at 30,194, and improved by 7.3 per cent when compared with February 2008. Other major markets included the Czech Republic, down 7.7 per cent; Hungary, down 46.4 per cent; and Romania, down 66.5 per cent.

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