Most of this growth, as expected, took place in the new EU member states, with 14.5% growth recorded during the year. A number of factors led to restrained buyer confidence in Western Europe, where registrations only rose by 0.2%.
In the U.K. a 2.5% rise in new registrations (to just over 2.4 million units) was mainly driven by private demand, especially for small and diesel vehicles, reports the ACEA. End of year trends were also positive, with U.K. registrations up 3.1% in December 2007 compared with a year earlier. Other Western European markets faired less well; activity in Germany was especially subdued, with this market experiencing a 9.2% decrease in annual registrations due to a VAT increase in January 2007.
Of the new member states, seven markets posted double-digit annual growth; only Hungary experienced a downward trend (-7.8%) in 2007. (Tyres & Accessories/Staffordshire, U.K.)