Mixed end to the year for European car sales

European car sales saw a mixed end to the year, figures released this week have shown, with French, British, Spanish and Italian sales down but German sales up slightly.

Over 230,000 vehicles were sold in Germany, Europe's largest car market, a rise of 7 percent on December 2009 and the first monthly increase since November 2009.

Sales in France fell, although only marginally on the back of a strong sales month in December.

French automakers' association the CCFA said a total of 228,316 cars were sold, down 0.7 percent, a fall which was driven by foreign brands rather than domestic automakers such as Citroen and Peugeot, who reported a good month.

However, in other countries the news was not so positive, with Spain posting its sixth consecutive sales fall, of 23.9 percent, and Italian sales falling 21.71 percent on the month.

British figures released January 7 showed an 18 percent fall, with UK built-models slightly outperforming the market and performing better than they have since 2005.

Paul Everitt, the boss of Britain's automaking association SMMT, said that he expected demand to strengthen in the second half of 2011.