French and Germans buying cars, other Europeans less so

Car sales in Europe were a mixed picture last month, according to figures released this week, with Germany and France posting gains but other countries faring less well.

Registrations of new vehicles in Germany jumped 11 percent compared to the same period last year, said the industry federation which represented the automakers of Europe's largest economy, with 328,000 vehicles sold in March 2011.

French automakers' association the CCFA said sales were up 6.1 percent in a month which was particularly good for the PSA Peugeot Citroen alliance but less healthy for Renault, which saw a fall of over 12 percent in sales.

All eyes will now be on France's April sales, as March was the final month of an incentive program thought to have provided a significant boost in buying.

Figures for car sales in Britain announced April 6, showed a fall of 7.9 percent on the same period in 2010, although the bad news was tempered by the announcement that emissions have reached an all-time low.

British automakers association SMMT said that the average emissions of new cars sold in Q1 were 140.3 g/km, down 3.4 percent and a new record for the UK.

Spanish auto sales fell for the ninth straight month, down by nearly 30 percent, while Italian sales showed equally dismal figures, down 27.6 percent.

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