France, Germany and UK lead European car sales

Demand for cars in Europe's three major economies is continuing to rise, according to figures released this week, but Spain and Italy continue to see falls.

British automakers' association SMMT said March 4 that sales in the United Kingdom jumped 27.4 percent year-on-year last month, adding that there was now a "sustainable improvement in new vehicle demand."

The increase was mirrored in Germany, Europe's largest car market, where sales were up 15 percent on February 2010 and 6.3 percent above the number sold in January 2011.

France saw a similar rise of 13.7 percent, according to French automakers' association CCFA, although it said that the final effects of France's scrappage scheme were still being felt.

However, the news in Europe wasn't universally good - sales in Spain were down 27.6 percent and Italian sales were down by 20 percent, according to figures released March 4.

Figures released earlier this week showed that the US car market is also picking up, although sales fell in Japan.

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