There was a big rise in car sales in France in December as drivers took advantage of government backed vehicle trade-in schemes.
One reason was that people wanted to buy before the French government reduced the scrappage bonus it pays to consumers trading in old cars.
At the start of the year it was cut from 1,000 euros to 700 euros per vehicle.
The French carmakers’ association reported new car sales in France surged 48.6 percent.
In Spain, December car sales were up by 25.1 percent, the fourth consecutive monthly increase. The figures were boosted by the Madrid government’s anti-crisis subsidies.
Sales are expected to rise at similar rates in the first half of this year, with demand falling off after value-added tax is raised from 16 percent to 18 percent in July.
For all of last year, sales in Spain fell 17.9 percent compared to 2008.
In Italy, December new car registrations were up 16.7 percent from the same month a year earlier and for the whole of the year sales slipped only slightly.