European passenger car registrations increased 6.8%, marking the third consecutive year of growth for the continent, according to the European Automobile Manufacturers Association (ACEA).

In total, 14,641,356 passenger cars were registered across the EU in 2016, 6.8% more than in 2015.

Growth was recorded in each of the so called ‘big five’ economies, with Italy and Spain recording both seeing double digit growth for the year (up 15.8% and 10.9% respectively).

France registered 5.1% more cars in 2016 than in 2015, Germany 4.5%, and the UL 2.3% over the same period.

The only market which shrank in 2016 was the Dutch market, where sales fell 14.7% year-on-year in 2016, to 382,825.

As a result, the Polish market became the sixth biggest car market in Europe, that to 416,123 car sales in 2016, 17.2% more than in 2015. If sales trends continue through 2017, the Swedish market will also overtake the Dutch market in 2017, as it sold just 10,000 less in the year.

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Over the course of 2016, Volkswagen (VW) Group sales grew 3.5% year-on-year, driven by an 8.7% increase in Audi sales and a 7.7% increase in Skoda sales. VW sales themselves actually shrank 0.5% over the same period.

Of the top five manufacturing groups, Renault and BMW saw double digit growth over 2016, of 12.1% and 10.1% respectively.

Ford sales increase 3.0%  over the same period, however PSA Group sales actually fell by 0.2% year-on-year in 2016.