The number of new cars sold in countries in the European Union (EU) soared by 10.8% in March, despite a 26.6% fall in sales from the largest car producer - Germany.
The figures for the first three months of 2010 were also positive as registrations rose 9.2%, compared to the first quarter of 2009. However, in comparison to the first quarter of 2008 registrations fell by 9.4%.
Most major markets recovered ground compared to early 2009, reflecting the continuing effect of government incentive programmes.
In contrast, German registrations shrank by 26.6% to 294,375 units. In total, 1,637,478 new cars were registered in the EU.
The UK accounted for almost 400,000 new cars, or 26.6% more than in 2009, thereby becoming the largest EU market this month.
Over the first quarter of the year, 3,671,871 new passenger cars were registered in the EU, or 9.2% more than in the same quarter a year ago.
In absolute figures, Germany ranked first (670,410 units), followed by Italy (666,231 units), the UK (611,548), France (594,720 units) and Spain (286,167 units).
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