BRUSSELS, Belgium (AP) — Big spending German car buyers helped European auto sales rise 8.7 percent in February from a year ago, the European carmakers association ACEA said Friday.
Germany, which buys close to a fifth of Europe's new cars, saw sales rise almost 25 percent last month compared with lackluster results a year ago when a new sales tax kept shoppers at home.
ACEA said February sales climbed to 1.18 million, helped by the extra working day from the Feb. 29 leap day.
The German surge masked poor sales from other major carbuying markets as Britain slumped 5.4 percent, Italy slid 3.9 percent and Spain saw no major change.
German carmakers won the biggest sales increases with Volkswagen AG, the largest European manufacturer, up a healthy 8.8 percent and luxury brands doing well. BMW AG rose 26.8 percent while Daimler AG went up 14.1 percent.
Most other major automakers saw sales lift with the exception of Toyota Motor Co. which fell 2.8 percent. France's Peugeot Citroen hiked sales 7.1 percent and Renault SA climbed 13.7 percent. U.S.-based Ford Motor Co. went up a more modest 1.2 percent with General Motors Corp. rising 1.2 percent.