European car sales grow for 6th month but still weakened by financial crisis

MILAN – European car sales grew for a sixth consecutive month in February but remained at a low level as the market recovered slowly from the financial crisis.

The European carmaker’s association said Tuesday that sales of new passenger cars in the EU grew 8 per cent last month to 861,058 units.

While the result is further evidence that the European market is coming out of its longest contraction ever, analysts warn price discounting remains strong.

Carlos Da Silva of IHS Automotive notes that the positive cycle compares with “dreadful” lows recorded in six years of contraction and “the overall situation remains more tense that it might appear.” February’s sales were at the second-lowest level ever for the month.

Among major markets, only France saw sales contract, by 1.4 per cent.