Western Europe posted growth of 1.9 per cent, but production in Central Europe rose by a remarkable 42.4 per cent. There were contrasting performances during the month, with Fiat production up 31 per cent (from a low base) due mainly to the launch of the new Punto. VW production rose 8.6 per cent on the back of Audi, Passat and Golf Plus models. Mercedes output was flat, but Smart production fell 34 per cent. PSA production rose nearly five per cent, but Renault fell 6.4 per cent, despite strong sales of the new Clio.
ACEA European registration figures also showed growth, although not to the same extent as the production numbers. The total European market (EU15+EFTA) registered 1,207,709 new cars in January, a 2.9 per cent increase on 2005.
The UK market was markedly down (-13.3 per cent) in contrast with the other influential automotive markets. The Italian market registered 237,409 cars a 10.7 per cent in crease on 2005. German registrations grew even more to 223,108 (+10.8 per cent), although it is worth pointing out that this figure reflects the recent of inclusion of motor caravans and ambulances in the data. France’s registrations grew in line with the market to 168,668 (+2.8 per cent).