European Union car sales rose 10.8 per cent in March – despite a massive 26.6 per cent fall in Germany.
First-quarter sales in 2010 were 9.2 per cent up on the same period in 2009, but are still 9.4 per cent lower than for the first three months of 2008.
Germany's dramatic slump was blamed on the end of its scrappage scheme, which was wound down last September. Other European markets, many still running support schemes, showed dramatic rises: Italy's sales rose 19.6 per cent, France 17.9 per cent and Spain 63.1 per cent.
With new car registrations of nearly 400,000 during March, the UK had the EU's biggest share of the marketplace.
The total number of new cars registered in the EU during March was 3,671,871.