New passenger car registrations in the EU have risen by 2.2% year-on-year in February to reach 1,078,503 units, according to the European Automobile Manufacturers Association (ACEA).

Despite the relatively low growth, the ACEA said that the February results came close to those of the same month in 2008, prior to the financial crisis. In the first two months of 2017, EU new passenger car registrations rose 6.2% year-on-year so far in 2017 to reach 2,248,040 units, driven by a 10.2% increase in January registrations.

Europe’s major markets posted mixed results in February 2017, with registrations down 0.3% in the UK, and 2.9% and 2.6% in France and Germany respectively, and up 6.2% in Italy and 0.2% in Spain.

Greece and Bulgaria saw the largest year-on-year percentage increase in February, achieving new car registration rises of 56.9% and62.8% respectively, while Ireland fared the worst, with registrations falling 20.8% over the same period.

The VW Group’s market share declined by 1% year-on-year in February, but increased by 4.7% year-on-year in the first two months of 2017.

The group registered 247,872 passenger cars in February 2017, greater than those recorded by its nearest rivals PSA Group, registering 115,710, and Renault Group, which achieved 112,481 new car registrations in the same period.

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