Passenger car demand up over 7 percent in EU in January

The European Union's (EU) demand for passenger cars in January rose by 7.1 percent on a yearly basis, according to the European Automobile Manufacturers' Association (ACEA) report on Thursday.

"In January, demand for passenger cars in the EU grew significantly compared to January last year -- benefitting from a positive calendar effect," the ACEA said in the report.

The association said new car registrations amounted to 1.25 million units during the first month of this year.

"Nearly all major EU car markets posted growth, except for the United Kingdom [minus 6.3 percent], which saw car sales decline for the 10th consecutive month," it said.

"Spain [20.3 percent] and Germany [11.6 percent] recorded the strongest gains, followed by Italy [3.4 percent] and France [2.5 percent]," it added.

The report showed that VW Group, of which major brands are Volkswagen, Audi, Skoda, Seat and Porsche, hold the lion's share with 24.6 percent in passenger car sales for January, increasing sales by 9.2 percent, year-on-year.

PSA Group -- including Peugeot, Citroen, and Opel -- and Renault Group followed VW Group with 16.6 percent and 9.3 percent of car sales, respectively.

In 2017, over 15 million new passenger cars were sold in the EU, up 3.4 percent for the fourth consecutive year.

The EU is the main automotive export market for Turkey, where the world's prominent automotive manufacturers including Fiat, Ford, Honda, Hyundai, Renault and Toyota have manufacturing operations.

Last year, nearly 80 percent of Turkey's total automotive exports were made to EU countries amounting to $22 billion, marking a 17 percent rise, year-on-year.

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